Over at Reason.com, Shikha Dalmia writes about a recently-leaked memo revealing that the British government’s aid establishment has responded to a request from India to stop sending aid by pleading that India reconsider on the grounds that the British government has expended significant political capital selling aid to the voters, and that cancellation would cause grave political embarrassment. Dalmia points out that India currently accepts development assistance from only five countries. Is Canada one of those countries? Apparently -
“After 55 years of bilateral programming in India totalling C$2.39 billion, Canada’s bilateral development assistance program came to an end in 2006 following a change in Indian government policy regarding aid. However, the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) continues to provide assistance to India through partnerships between Indian and Canadian NGOs and multilateral programs. In addition, the Canadian High Commission in New Delhi manages the Canada Fund for Local Initiatives, to support local projects in India focusing on gender equality, human rights, and good governance. “
I think it is noxious that Canadian tax dollars are being shipped off to a country wealthy enough to have an arsenal of atomic weapons. But it gets worse. From Dalmia’s article -
“Buoyed by its post-liberalization economic growth, (India) has decided to emulate its Western benefactors and dole out money to other poor countries…”
In essence, the Canadian establishment is using your hard-earned money to look good by giving it to the Indian establishment to use to make themselves look good. This is no surprise to libertarians, of course, because we know this sort of thing is a perfectly predictable consequence of putting charity in the hands of the state.
“It seems that all I hear these days are the once and future leaders of our country tripping over themselves to denigrate the work we do. I’m tired of it, and I’m fed up. I don’t claim to represent anyone other than myself, but I would bet that a fair number of federal employees feel as I do. We are lawyers, doctors, PhD students, economists, writers, electricians, construction workers, security officers and technology specialists. We are not a drain on the national economy; rather, we are a primary reason why the United States remains as great as it is.”
Mr. Ullner goes on; first, to complain about the sacrifices he’s made and the stress he’s endured, second, to assure us he isn’t complaining. In fact, he quite enjoys his job because of the various “chills”, “thrills”, and excitement that comes from serving his country. But not because of the money -
“We don’t do our jobs for glory, or money or power. We do them — and do them well — because we take pride in our work and pride in representing the United States of America.”
But here is the problem – I don’t care what the motivations of Mr. Ullner and his colleagues are. I don’t even care if they are working hard. I only care if they are producing value. And no matter how well they do their jobs, I think most of those jobs produce less value than they consume. People are right to complain, and I hope they don’t stop just because some bureaucrats get their feelings hurt.
“Outside of animal behavior laboratories, remote-controlled robofish might be used to help mitigate the damage of human-caused ecological disasters.
“If accepted by the animals, robotic fish may act as leaders and drive them away from human-induced ecological disasters that are affecting life in aquatic environments, such as oil spills, and man-made structures, such as dams…”
You were probably envisioning something slightly more sophisticated.
My first thought was that the device may one day provide a means to ‘ranch’ fish in the open ocean, rather than farming them in tanks and pens. I imagine robot fish traveling with schools of live fish, monitoring their movements, protecting them from predators, and then guiding them back to areas from which they could be harvested. Just another wonder of the market!
This clip features Kevin O’Leary from the ABC show Shark Tank. I first heard of the program from a post at the Mises blog back in July, but never watched it until EconLog’s David Henderson discussed the show last week. I have since been watching one episode after another, and enjoying it very much. The premise is that entrepreneurs get to pitch their ideas to a panel of five wealthy investors, who then grill the candidate for relevant details. The results range from rejection and ridicule to bidding wars between the investors. The show is a gripping demonstration of capitalism in action, and to call the format a success would be an understatement – there is some version of Shark Tank in each of 22 different countries, including Canada.
Watching the show, it struck me that all the investors give much less weight to potential than I would expect. Several times I have seen what I think a brilliant idea, only to see the Sharks reject it based on what they perceive as inadequate performance to date. I suppose experience has taught them to calculate the risks they take very carefully. But I calculate the risk that you will not enjoy Shark Tank to be very small, so by all means, invest a little time.