Focus Point - Govt. Vs PrivateCommentary by Pete du Pont
July 16, 2001
I'm Pete du Pont with the National Center for Policy Analysis. I came across what seemed an arcane study in an off-beat publication, economic intuition. It had to do with explorations to the arctic in the 19th century, but its message is worth noting in the early 21st.
During the time in question, both governments and private adventurers engaged in arctic exploration. But private expeditions had greater success, with fewer resources, and fewer casualties than public ones.
A study of 92 expeditions between 1818 and 1909 showed that the average public expedition had 70 crewmen, the average private one only 16. And private voyagers had smaller ships.
Private explorers won most of the arctic prizes, including first to the north pole and first navigation of the northwest passage.
Researchers concluded the private expeditions were about five times more efficient, suggesting if the public sector and the private sector take on the same job, the private sector can do it cheaper and better -- in the 19th century, or the 21st.
Those are my ideas, and at the NCPA we know ideas can change the world. I'm Pete du Pont. Next time corporate welfare.