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Italy Japan United Canada Germany France Kingdom

United States

Source: Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System.

Government-sponsored scientific research also provides benefits to both current and future generations. With a constantly growing stock of productive assets, consumers on average are likely to be better off in the future than they are today. Some argue that given rising income, it is proper for the government to redistribute income from future generations to the current generation, much like any income redistribution from the rich to the poor. Others seek to increase the ability of future generations to raise living standards, as have past generations.

Few people, however, would argue that ever-higher economic growth rates are worthwhile regardless of cost. Even if such increases were desirable, current sacrifice alone does not ensure rapid growth. For example, the former Soviet Union directed massive amounts of resources away from consumption and into investment, but such investments were so poorly managed that this sacrifice went largely unrewarded. The collapse of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union is in large part the result of the failure of that economic system to raise living standards.

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