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Footballer and researcher Marc Belloud (Le Monde Diplomatique, October 2021)

Hierarchy of priorities during a pandemic

Forty million euros a year, 110 thousand euros a day or 4,500 euros an hour, even while sleeping: The salary of footballer Lionel Messi at Paris Saint-Germain has reached such an exorbitant level that it is difficult to claim it. Comparing this reward with money invested in biology and health research highlights the priorities that are shaping society, despite the pandemic.

Man Ray. – « non-Euclidean object from the Italian League Miscellaneous Objects » (Various things), circa 1932-1933

Photo: Center Pompidou, RMN-Grand Palais © Man Ray 2015 Trust-Adagp, Paris 2021

Thehe is Coincidences are sometimes useful. August 10, daily the scientist It tells us that the salary of footballer Lionel Messi at Paris Saint-Germain (Paris Saint-Germain) will be 40 million euros annually, and that the average salary of CAC 40 managers will rise from 3.8 million euros in 2020 to 5.3 million in 2021. After a few pages, we find out that The annual budget of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is €6 million per year. Thus, a football star’s salary corresponds to the nearly seven years’ resources of an institution of 195 member states, coordinates the work of hundreds of international scientists and performs an essential function in understanding the causes and consequences of global warming.

We suggest using Messi’s salary amount as the new unit of measure. We will call it General- GF “, NS “ A year of great fortune This figure of 40 million euros is undoubtedly much lower than the reality since the magazine’s estimates Forbes The revenue of this player in 2020, including advertising contracts, amounted to 126 million dollars (103 million euros). But let’s keep 40 million, or 110,000 euros of income per day, or enough to pay, for a year, 1,500 French people with an average salary.

This standard salary deserves to be included in the research budget in biology and health, which one might think in times of health crisis is a priority for the government. Two recent reports provide detailed information on this topic. The first observation, that the share of the budget of the Ministry of Research and Higher Education devoted to biology and health decreased by 400 million euros between 2015 and 2020. The second observation, the support paid by the state to the National Institute of Health and Medical Research (Inserm) and the Institute of Biological Sciences of the National Research Center (… ]

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Mark Bellud

Director of Research at the National Center for Scientific Research (CNRS), attached to the Center for Cancer Research in Lyon. The author speaks on his own behalf, not on behalf of the CNRS.

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