Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Who's better at innovating: government or the free-market?

Charles Johnson alerts us to an ominous new threat to Google's dominant search engine:

The European Union is putting up $152 million to fund a search engine that will compete with Google.

Who was that snickering in the back of the room?

Government-funded innovation in action at the BMV

OK, maybe it was me. I can’t help it. I’m picturing an EU-approved search engine, and I can’t stop giggling.

EUgle! Bwa ha ha!

Big government spending bucket-loads of taxpayer money on innovation?

What springs to mind are the Democrats' rocket-scientist plans to fund clean energy technology (at taxpayer expense, of course). Hillary, for example, plans to spend $50 billion on a "Strategic Energy Fund" and a few more billion on "basic energy research."

No piker himself, Barack Obama plans to spend $150 billion on "clean energy", another $50 billion in clean venture funds, and an unknown amount to "Double Energy Research and Development Funding."

Funny. With $4 a gallon gas on the way, I thought there were plenty of free-market incentives to explore green technologies.

Like the Lexus Hybrid 400h. Or the BMW Hydrogen engine. Or the Saab Biopower engine. Or Volvo's flexifuel engine. Or Toyota's hybrids. Or VW's Passat powered by natural gas. Or Honda's Civic GX, also powered by natural gas.

But I suppose Obama and Clinton have the right idea. If given enough money, big government can out-innovate the free-market.

Can't it?

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