Yet another weird SF fan

I'm a mathematician, a libertarian, and a science-fiction fan. Common sense? What's that?

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Yet another weird SF fan

Monday, September 26, 2011

All the Cool Nations Are Doing This …

One of the commonest arguments in favor of a wide variety of industrial policies is the “all the cool nations are doing this” argument. This argument is one of the best reasons for not imitating the allegedly-cool nations.

If nobody is doing X, it might make sense to try doing X just to see if it can be done (Example: the Manhattan project). If just one nation is doing X, it might make sense to follow them to prevent a monopoly. (Example: the space race). If everybody is doing X, then we can buy X (if it really is worthwhile) from a variety of sources. What's more, we'll be competing with lots of subsidized industries, which is a good way to lose money. (Example: solar panels.)

It's not a coincidence that Solyndra, a company in one of the coolest fields around, went bankrupt.


Anonymous TJIC said...

Excellent point.

6:56 AM  

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