October 2010

14 October 2010
Chilean miner rescue

How do we know it wasn’t faked?

The lack of intellectual property gave the Soviet Union an advantage in the Cold War

Seen in a piece on the AK-47 linked to by Instapundit:

That was how the Soviet Union designed much of its suite of military equipment. Rival teams were given a set of specification and deadlines, and through a series of stages the teams presented prototypes, and contest supervisors winnowed the field. Stalin liked these contests. They created urgency and a strong sense of priorities, and they helped speed along development. This was also a system without patents or even notions of intellectual property, at least as we know them in the West. So design convergence was part of the process—the teams and the judges, as time passed, could mix and match features from different submissions. Think of a game of Mr. Potato Head. Now imagine a similar game, in which many different elements and features of an automatic rifle are available to you, and more are available at each cycle, and you can gradually pluck the best features and assemble them into a new whole. In some ways, this was the process here.

It was always been a great puzzle to me how the half-way capitalist Tsarists managed to lose their world war while the full-on commies won theirs.  My explanation had always been that the disciplines learnt under the Tsar and the extraordinary growth that Russia experienced prior to the First World War, somehow kept going.  But, surely, twenty years of Leninist, followed by Stalinist communism will destroy anything.  Or, maybe, that Allied aid to the Soviets was more than we tend to think.  The explanation that it’s to do with intellectual property seems far more plausible.  And it also explains why the Soviets were good at military stuff but lousy at everything else.

10 October 2010
To our Chinese readers (who celebrate it, which realistically means those in Taiwan and not necessarily all of them) - happy Double Ten.

04 October 2010
Uh oh

Just been listening to George Osborne’s speech to the Conservative Party Conference.

Oh dear.  Oh, fucking dear.  We’re fucked.  Totally and utterly screwed.

The human part of his brain does seem to have some idea of how big a hole we’re in.  Sadly, the politician part - the dominant part - does not.  So, he’s going to protect the NHS and medical research and high-speed lines (I kid you not!).

And next week it will be the Army and then education - he’s already pretty much ruled out any serious welfare reform.  And the week after that: everything else.

The rule with cuts is: no exceptions.

There was a brief period when I was prepared to believe that the Coalition might just have the balls do what was necessary.  OK, it’s not quite over yet but I am not optimistic.

Business sense on the business channel - shock!

CNBC is much better than the BBC.  But that is not saying much.  For the most part it offers up a stream of Keynesians with a smattering of Monetarists.

So, imagine my surprise when I turned on today to hear someone talking sense.  Real, proper, honest-to-Godness, complete, free-market, Austrian sense.  I even spent the next half an hour glued to the show just so I could catch his name.

I succeeded.  The guy’s name is Sean Corrigan and he works for these people.

Oh, and he writes for the Cobden Centre.  Which I would have known if I monitored their RSS feed.

Go Toby!