Thursday, September 12, 2013

Robo-subsidy

The EU is backing a project to create a workable robo-exoskeleton suit. It sounds like pretty cool technology and the tax payer transfer amounts to 4.5 million euros, which is a drop in the great ocean that is the EU budget.

But there's something I don't get: if the robo-suit is economically feasible then enterprise will surely take care of the R&D, production and distribution all by itself. I am struggling to see the market failure the government is trying to address here. Or do they just a few spare million euros lying around, after all it's not like there's a fiscal crisis going on (cough, cough, splutter, choke). Indeed, I hear faint echoes of Quaero, the EU state sponsored search engine that was supposed to be Europe's answer to Google. Problem is it failed big time and cost a few hundred million in the meantime. Of course, the incentive to organise and complain against these shenanigans is minimal as the EU population is simply too dispersed, great in number and too far removed from the decision makers. And so it will go on.

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