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Kittens on the internet and you didn't build that

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We all know that the internet was originally built as as series of tubes to deliver images of cute kittens to us. And quite right too: the modern economy would fall over if there were ever a deficiency of such Lolcats.

We all also know that anyone who does succeed in building something in the modern economy didn't do it on their own. We know this because the President has told us that "You didn't build that".

However, here's a story about cute kittens that relies upon the first assertion above and is also something of a refutation of the second.

Cat pictures have become a staple of the internet, but one robotics firm is bring real felines online with an internet connected cat toy and webcam.

Idaho firm has already installed its system in 10 animals shelters across the US, letting anyone play with cats via the system.

Users join a virtual queue, and can then control three toys and a webcam in the enclosure.

So what they're doing is fixing up a few toys in the animal shelters where the orphan kittens are. These can be controlled by an internet user remotely and there's a webcam to allow that user to see what is happening.

Partly this is simply fun: who doesn't like playing with cats. But it has also raised cat adoption rates significantly at those shelters that have them which is also good.

But what about the point of who built this? Certainly, the internet needed to exist before this could have. So can't we say that they really didn't build that?

No, because that's not quite the point. That we all build on the achievements of earlier generations is obvious. But that's not a reason for us to be taxed more highly because we have done so. Quite the contrary: the most difficult thing is working out quite how to add to the things that previous generations have already developed for us. And this is something that simply cannot be done by any form of planning.

And if it can't be done by planning then it cannot be done by government or any form of bureaucracy. It has to be left to the randomness and chaos of the market. My proof here would be that no planning process at all is going to either come up with or approve of investment in a system so that people can remotely play with cats.

And therefore, if it's the market, necessarily, which is what allows these new uses and new things to do to be discovered then the case for higher taxation falls away. If government didn't build it then why should government get any money from it's having been built?

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