Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Cost of That Allegedly Free Enterprise

I heard a commentary, I think it must have been on the BBC and I was only half listening, on the end of the US space program. The general drift was that the end of the government program now meant that the way was open to private industry to develop much cheaper modes of space travel. Presumably the very presence of a government program has been inhibiting the robust growth of private industry in this area.

This seemed to me to be one of the more extreme justifications for ending a government program that might be subject to any number of criticisms but that provided developments that inspired the world. If the program was ended, maybe private industry could do a better job.

Now I suspect that the immediate causes of the end of the space program are the lack of money occasioned by neverending tax increases without reason, plus a NASA bureaucracy incapable of presenting a generally supportable program. But the ideological justification has been used over and over again on government programs. Not that there is a private program that is comparable and less expensive, but that somehow (never explained) one might grow up if we destroy the government program.

I've given you the story of Peter's pig before...

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