The State gave 45 thousand million pesos to transnationals to do neoliberal science: Álvarez-Buylla

The State handed over 45 thousand million pesos to transnationals to carry out neoliberal science: Alvarez-Buylla

Georgina Saldierna and Enrique Mendez

Newspaper La Jornada
Friday, August 5, 2022, p. 16

The director of the National Council for Science and Technology (Conacyt), María Elena Álvarez-Buylla, told legislators that in Mexico a policy was applied to promote neoliberal sciencethat privileged the particular interest over the general and the knowledge itselfand presented as an example the expenditure of 45 thousand 700 million pesos transferred to transnationals between 2001 and 2018.

In an extensive virtual work meeting with the Science and Technology commissions of the Chamber of Deputies and the Senate, and in response to questions from the opposition about the conflict in the Center for Economic Research and Teaching, Álvarez-Buylla maintained that in the years prior to the resignation of former director Sergio López Ayllón, the institution and many colleagues functioned as if they were in a private entity. Some researchers could have millionaire income using the letterhead for private consultancies.

He insisted that despite the volume of resources given to private initiative, innovation results were ridiculously lowbut benefited to large companies that did not have a scientific or technological vocation, including transnationals such as Monsanto, Intel, Kimberly, Continental, Volkswagen and Mabe.

He considered it worrying that treasury resources “have been designated without State criteria and social benefit. Businesses grew, but the efficiency of innovation of this neoliberal science, with corruption, did not keep up with the same rate of increase in spending. Other governments remained silent, but we could not do the same… We do not want science to develop weapons or abuse the environment, in favor of morally unacceptable profits, but science for humanity”.

In the round of questions and answers, PAN deputy Juan Carlos Romero Hicks asserted that there are no sources, even bibliographic ones, that speak of neoliberal scienceand Álvarez-Buylla said: “Neoliberal science is the co-opted and converted into technoscience, which prioritizes the commercial interest of a large transnational company over the epistemological principles of knowledge”.

The president of the Senate Science Commission, Jorge Carlos Ramírez Marín (PRI), reverted: Science does not admit dogmas. I cannot imagine that the cancer vaccine is discovered by a neoliberal. Worse, that someone whom we brand today as neoliberal, does not have the resources to continue his research and discover the most efficient vaccine against covid-19 or the next milestone in artificial intelligence.

The legislators of Morena defended that, from this government, technological sovereignty began to be built and resources were no longer transferred to companies, which have capital to develop their processes.

The official assured that she found a Conacyt building that was practically a facade, an institution that subrogated substantive functions, which transferred multi-million dollar amounts to the private sector at the expense of social development. “There was a tendency to privatize and weaken postgraduate courses, turning postgraduate education into a privilege, rather than a universal right… Students were sent to predatory universities of the lowest level,” he explained.

even noted that the Conacyt scholarships were used as decoys for these businesses, that not postgraduateand that the privatization approach was of such magnitude that the scholarships were concentrated in areas such as administration, finance, marketing and international trade.

Deputy Sayonara Vargas (PRI) referred to the extinction of the Conacyt trusts, and considered the reimbursement to the Federation Treasury of 21 thousand 853 million that were in different funds of the institution a sin. Álvarez-Buylla pointed out that it was passive resources, and leave those huge resources stranded that was a sin.

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