Friday, May 23, 2008

Destroying the world: public good, or private responsibility?

Well, apparently the Government is cutting funding to the CSIRO. As we all know from documentaries, realistic dramas on the television, and informative and educational works of fiction, scientists at the CSIRO spend all their time figuring out ways to expode the world, travelling forwards in time to the end of the universe, travelling backwards in time to the age of the dinosaurs, reanimating the rotting corpses of dead people, switching the brains of humans with apes (and vice versa), creating armies of robots to dominate the world, setting up lines of telepathic communication with evil spiders halfway across the universe, and engineering vast black holes to destroy the universe. But apart from that, what else have they done for the betterment of Australia?

Supporters of the CSIRO often claim that without government funding, they would not be able to effectively work out new ways of destroying the world, or setting up robot armies to dominate us all, and so on, and so on. On the other hand, maybe private initiative would be able to step in and help out? Although the philanthropic organisation SPECTRE, devoted to the charitable goals of annihilating democracy and bending the rest of the world to its will, has fallen by the wayside of late, it is true that there remain hundreds of other private interests and charitable societies with similar goals in mind. Pokemon, for instance. Perhaps they would be able to fund the activities of Australian scientists instead?

Also, this may seem controversial, but I'll say it anyway: why should the Government be relied upon to dominate the world, and conquer the universe? Shouldn't this be the responsibility, equally, of private world-domination companies, who can do it, off the public dollar?

Destroying the world: is it a public good, or a private responsibility? It's a dilemma we must all face up to from time to time.

(Riffing on the idea suggested in Jeremy's title)


Caz said...

Too easy: destroying the world is a private sector function, ably supported by tax deductions and a myriad of government grants, it has always been thus.

For especially promising destructive methods, the government jumps in early with direct action to kick-start the process, before handing over to able-bodied and enthusiastic private operators.

These are time honored processes, with a sterling record of achievement.

TimT said...

I tend to agree, but once the world-destruction research has been outsourced, as is often the case, to a company in an overseas country, Australians are wont to get a little miffed. Sure, they argue. They may have destroyed the world. But what's that got to do with the price of eggs?

Caz said...

Nooo, nooo, that's not what they say.

They say: sure, they may have destroyed the world, but we still punch above our weight.

Maria said...

Subscription based, so if the CSIRO comes up with an army it will only blow up the subscribers? Other people will get left out because they haven't been paying up.

Sign up!

Sign up!

Of course, if you have been paying up and then you die and your corpse rots away, you will get priority for your corpse to be brought back to life as a zombie. You will also get first pick should they want people to tune into and splice open to replant brains into and stick into dancing jellyfish who can rewrite Thackeray and draw paint Ken Done pics.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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