Why we have enough money for Polywell and Other Fusion Attempts.

According to Vanity Faire, men and women spend over 17 billion a year on cosmetics. This was in 1986.  In 2008, the yearly cost was over 30 billion.

Note that I’m not picking on women here, this is just the first example that came to mind. You can put cigarettes (over 35 billion for the US alone), or fast food, or any one of a hundred luxuries.

the point is that the common claim as to why we cannot afford working on Polywell doesn’t hold water. We are not “too poor” to do so– the United States is wealthier than almost any other nation in history– compared to the disposable wealth we have, the greatest Roman emperor was a piker.

If you want to move to more government controlled sources of funding, consider that a single B2 costs over 2 billion– far more than would be needed to take the Polywell from test to prototype to production machine.  More importantly, the benefits of a functioning fusion system woudl far outweigh the benefits of a B2 (for one thing, it’d reduce our dependence on sources of energy that demand the use of said B2).

The problem is not money– it has never been money.  The problem is one of allocating money effectively and convincing the people that it is important to do so. In other words, the problem isn’t science– it’s politics and public opinion.

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2 thoughts on “Why we have enough money for Polywell and Other Fusion Attempts.

  1. So, what do you think is going to motivate people to devote money to this project? We as a society say we want green energy, but we have a deep rooted bias and structure built around existing systems. It is so pervasive I doubt we even realize it. I think this technology will take off where that structure is non-existent, where people are not looking backwards but forwards and where people are desperate, young and not fearful of technical barriers. I want to believe this is in America, but I fear it will be somewhere in Asia. The promise of cheap energy is too great to be ignored by anyone.

    • Well, crowdfunding and other initiatives are showing some signs of success– but the problem is that fusion, of *all* types suffers from something of a crisis of credibility. But it may be that eventually we’ll need to have to consider other sources of funding– which may very well include other nations.

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