How to Learn from History

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How to Understand Folk Wisdom »

Reader Comments (12)

Those who do not study history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.

And, if you've got a Cobra, we're there on the double. G.I. Joe is there!

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

If you're hardcore enough to ranch rattlesnakes, their venom is more valuable per ounce than gold.
Might have to get some permits to have venomous snakes, but there's always demand for antivenom, so they wouldn't make it impossible.

July 27, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDee

Don't remember which book it was, but Terry Pratchett would advise you to tax the cobra ranches.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMarkus

As a student of economics i'm quite familiar with this story. The most important lessons it teaches are: 1) just how big of an effect incentives really do have on people's choices, and 2) how government activities are a net loss 99.999... percent of the time due to the economic calculation problem and unintended consequences.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economic_calculation_problem .

Don't forget that the wealth transferred to said cobra ranchers had to be taken from productive citizens...

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterjakejohn

The lessons:
1. When it comes to human depravity, Calvin was an optimist.
2. Just because Missy doesn't want to hear about something does not mean it is not fascinating.
3. Bill Haast was a guy worth knowing about.
4. Snake Wrangling is more than a salubrious form of prostate maintainance.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterkhereva

Is... Is that Gonzo in Missy's hair in the fourth panel?

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMe

This reminds me of the company that started offering programmers a monetary bonus for every bug they found in the program and fixed.

Bugs the programmers themselves introduced into the code.

This, too, was discontinued as a failure.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRandall Hall

Ah, government activities like .. inventing and setting up the internet?

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenterstringph

@me It's best to think of the shadow in Missy's hair as a Rorschach test whenever it isn't undeniably Foghorn Leghorn.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered Commenteremo

For every success, government has a thousand failures. Plus it wasn't government that "invented" the internet, nor pure government foresightedness that set it up.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterSandy Petersen

This case gets brought up whenever the topic of Guam's tree snake infestation comes up.

I suppose, in keeping with the rules of economics, the solution would be to charge a fine for every snake found on a person's property. But I can't stand government overreach as it is, so I can't support that solution.

India tends to be superstitious, maybe the solution would have been to encourage the local mystics to claim that cobras brought a curse that spread sickness through the property, and only the death of the cursed snake could end it?

Worked in the witch trials.

July 28, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterEllendra

Aaaaaannd the private sector is any better, or brighter, than the government? I would like to see the current crop of entitled execs design an interstate system or any other large public works. Unless there are subsidies involved. Corporate America has not produced as many wizz-kids as they would have us believe. Many of these business giants suckle at the government teat. Don't confuse greed with smarts.

July 29, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKungFool

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