Thursday, May 22, 2003

I am collecting absurd-cottage-industry socialism stories.

The classic one was from Chairman Mao's so-called Great Leap Forward program in 1958. Mao basically decided that every Chinese should have his own smelting furnace at home to melt down scrap metal. No, really, think about it: Just do the math! If everyone produced a hundred pounds of metal per person, China would immediately be one of the preeminent industrial powers in the world! It's brilliant! Of course, things didn't quite work out. Nobody remembered to farm the fields, and local governments found it necessary to cook the books on how much metal they were producing. The government ended up with millions of little turd-shaped blobs of the crudest form of pig iron which had to be re-refined in regular steel mills.

"Three years of famine followed," state the textbooks dryly but invariably.

I didn't think anyone could ever top that one, but hey, believe in Fidel, baby. This is from today'sNRO:
The Wall Street Journal reported nearly a year ago about Castro's efforts to clone Cuba's world-record-holding milk cow, Ubre Blanca. According to Boris Luis Garcia, formerly a molecular biologist with Cuba's Center for Genetic Engineering and Biotechnology, Castro wanted to shrink cows to the size of dogs. Castro's idea was to get around the scarcity of milk in the cities by providing Cuban families with miniature milk cows they could keep in their apartments. According to his plan, the miniature cows would graze on grass to be grown in drawers under fluorescent lights.

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