We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

And frankly, a lot of what DARPA did was crap, like SDI. They had successes, but if you spend decades doing research projects some are going to work. The question is whether this works better than leaving money in the pockets of the likes of Dyson and Bezos, or whether the government should take a shot.

The UK version doesn’t have a government customer. It’s being led by the department of business, energy and industrial strategy who are some of the most worthless of all bureaucrats in government. People like Amanda Solloway are going to pick the person to lead this. Do you want someone who thinks HS2 is a super great idea selecting the person who is going to pick where to direct blue sky research?

Tim Worstall

12 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • The Pedant-General

    The business case for HS2 was nonsense when it was first proposed. Since then the costs have gone up, the putative benefits have gone down (as mobile data provision has improved) and have now vanished almost entirely (as the world has caught on to the idea that you can do most of this stuff remotely).

    £100 BILLION…

  • Alexander Tertius Harvey

    Well, there is that old economic stimulant of paying people to dig holes and subsequently pay others to fill them in – or build the infrastructure and use it is the Johnson Memorial Cycleway

  • Well, there is that old economic stimulant of paying people to dig holes and subsequently pay others to fill them in (Alexander Tertius Harvey, June 7, 2021 at 7:11 am)

    A less depressingly futile example is Concord, which never remotely recovered its development costs and is now alas banned on safety (fascist?) grounds, but which did actually exist and transport people for decades. That was then, this is now. One rather basic HS2 question is: will it exist at the end of the day?

    the department of business, energy and industrial strategy who are some of the most worthless of all bureaucrats in government.

    When compared with those organs of government that do active harm, the merely worthless seem almost benign – though of course there is the risk they will try to inflict on all research groups they even partly fund the kind of culture that the Samizdata Quote of the Day notes is being inflicted on US medicine.

  • Tim Worstall

    While I sign on to the point that’s not me. Tim Almond writing at my place……

  • bobby b

    “The UK version doesn’t have a government customer. It’s being led by the department of business, energy and industrial strategy who are some of the most worthless of all bureaucrats in government.”

    Do you really have a “department of business, energy and industrial strategy” in your government? God, that’s so Orwellian. (“MiniRich”?)

  • Alexander Tertius Harvey

    Niall

    Three cheers – you called it Concord.

    ‘When compared with those organs of government that do active harm’. Most of them. The civil service would be better value if the bulk of its high flyers (Rolls Royce minds; personalities of a rusting Morris Minor laid up on bricks) were paid to do NOTHING.

  • George Atkisson

    Hey! My dad wore a Morris Minor to work for years!

  • Schrodinger's Dog

    We’ve been here before, haven’t we?. During the Wilson Government of 1964-70, technology had cabinet-level representation, no less, with a Minister for Technology running a Ministry of Technology.

    As the old saying has it, there’s nothing new under the sun.

  • asiaseen

    Rolls Royce minds
    So quiet you can’t hear them thinking

  • Paul Marks

    I thought the one bit of silver lining around the 400 Billion Pounds spent on Covid lockdowns was that HS2 would be cancelled – as it was obvious that we could not afford it.

    How dumb I was – it is going ahead anyway. As far as I know all the political parties think that blowing a Hundred Billon Pounds (plus….) on a railway line between places that ALREADY HAVE a railway line, makes perfect sense.

    As for government research projects – ah like “Gain of Function” research.

    “Let us create a virus that could kill millions – we can learn so much this way!”

    The “international scientific community” appears to be led by “Davros” from the science fiction show “Doctor Who”.

    I am not kidding – some members of “SAGE” have a totalitarian political ideology similar to that of “Davros”.

    But they are totally trusted – because they are “scientists”, just like “Davros”. That did not turn out well…..

    And Early Treatment that could have saved most of the people who died?

    No, no, no – because that would have been with a combination of crude old medications that are not even on patent anymore.

    Better that millions should die rather than such “primitive” means be used to save them.

  • Sam Duncan

    “Do you really have a ‘department of business, energy and industrial strategy’ in your government? God, that’s so Orwellian. (‘MiniRich’?)”

    Oh, that’s nothing. We have a “Department for Digital, Culture, Media, and Sport” too. Tutto nello Stato and all that, old boy.

    I particularly like the use of an adjective in there (not to mention the Blairite substitution of “for” instead of “of”; makes it sound so much more useful, doesn’t it?). It opens up a whole new world of possibilities: as you say, the “Ministry for Rich”; Health could become the “Department for Well”; Education, the “Department for Smart”. What a time to be alive.

  • Paul Marks

    Up to recently the international establishment said that Hungary had the highest Covid death rate in the world (they used this claim as part of their war against Prime Minister Orban) – but just before the Peruvian Presidential election the international establishment declared that Peru had the highest Covid death rate in the world.

    Let us assume that the international establishment is telling the truth – that Peru does indeed have the highest Covid death rate in the world.

    From the start in early 2020 Peru has done everything the international establishment said to do – lockdowns and all of it. And, according to the same establishment, Peru has the HIGHEST Covid 19 death rate in the world.

    So either the international establishment are trying to kill people on purpose – or they are idiots who keep advocating policies that have terrible results.

    Either way – continuing to follow the advice of “the experts” (on Covid 19 – or other matters) would clearly be insane. Peru shows this with terrible clarity.

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