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I wonder if the human life calculation worked well this time. As far as I see, Boeing lost more than the sum of the human lives; they also lost reputation for everything new they’ve designed in the last 7 years being corrupted, and they also engulfed the reputation of FAA with them, whose agents would fit the definition of “corrupted” by any people’s definition (I know, they are not, they just used agents of Boeing to inspect Boeing because they were understaffed), and the FAA showed the last step of failure by not admitting that the plane had to be stopped until a few days after the European agencies.

In other words, even in financial terms, it cost more than damages. It may have cost the entire company. They “DeHavailland”’ed their company. Ever heard of DeHavailland? No? That’s probably to do with their 4 successive deintegrating planes that “CEOs have complete trust in.” It just died, as a name. The risk is high.




There is so much of U.K. which is incredible and depressing at the same time. Completely pummelled by war, (receiving no aid like West Germany did) they managed to, in 1949, release a Space Age passenger commercial airliner, defining the genre. It looks modern even today.

Yet, fumbled the ball.

They also had a space program, closed it down after their first satellite, which was a success.

Concorde! (With France.)

It goes on an on, I'm sure you have favourite examples.

It's heart wrenching.


Generally short-sighted politics gets in the way in the UK based on my own opinion. Support/budgets/etc get withdrawn at precisely the wrong moment (and usually for some petty point-scoring or if ministers are running scared from the media/opposition)

Its happening right now too with electric cars and solar electricity - solar has generally been seen as a success with a lot of installations taking us to 3rd place in Europe for solar megawatts despite there being essentially no sun (1), and EV cars are starting to become something actually viable for most people's lives. The government has just announced that the UK is now legally bound to be carbon neutral by 2050... yet the government chose also to revoke funding and support for both solar and EVs and so subsequently update has plummeted (2, 3) right at this vital point.

1 - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_energy_in_the_European_U... 2 - https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2016/apr/08/solar-in... 3 - https://www.autocar.co.uk/car-news/industry/new-car-sales-fa...


“The largest recipient of Marshall Plan money was the United Kingdom (receiving about 26% of the total), followed by France (18%) and West Germany (11%).” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Plan


Since others may be curious, what the UK received under the Marshall Plan looks to be about 3x what they paid back under Lend-Lease. (Which in turn was maybe 10% of the cost of what was shipped.)


You may like this take (rant?) which describes further loans from US to UK. https://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/modern/marshall_01.sht...


Interesting factoids:

Marshall plan replaced and thankfully rejected the previous Morgenthau plan - which would have explicitly ruled out any aid to Germany, and actually further destroyed the country.

In a fine bit of statesmanship Marshall plan aid was offered to the Soviets, who rejected it. It was offered in fairness, but in the certain knowledge Stalin would refuse. It would never have got through Congress anyway. :)


Today I learned!


Last week I was at Munich, with +40 other Europeans: French, Spanish, Italian, German, Dutch, Swedes and of course Irish and British. As I was sipping my beer at a biergarten I realized we were all speaking English, in Germany, surrounded by people whose native language wasn't English, right when Brexit is about to happen, just when any British could say: we won. But no, as you said, they just fumbled the ball, again.


I thought the US won..


The United Kingdom received over twice the amount that West Germany did under the Marshall plan. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marshall_Plan#Expenditures


The U.K. had an educational computer initiative with the BBC and Acorn. Worked wonders. Then they discontinued the effort.


Yes, although ARM came out of that and now look at that (...or your smartphone) so its not all a disaster.

The Raspberry Pi is a spiritual successor which I am generally pleased to see. The RPi was I think partly responsible for a real Computer Science curriculum getting back into schools ... I hate to say it but I think it was Michael Gove that made this happen!


Arm Holdings is now owned by Japan's Softbank, because a Conservative (business-first) administration thought selling off the family silver was a fine idea.

This is pretty typical of the UK government's approach to the computer hardware/software industry. Had the first business computer industry in Europe (anyone else remember the LEO line of mainframes?) and a promising software biz, of which only bits remain. (The gaming industry is thriving, but the rest mostly ended up being absorbed by US multinationals. I could speculate that having a common language, in combination with a series of governments who believed in leaving things to the Invisible Hand, and a business culture dominated by accountants, were at the root of the problem ...)


Coemergence of government competence in invention and supporting application seems almost as rare as companies delivering on a second blockbuster idea.

Which kind of speaks to the prevalence of luck over design in favorable outcomes at any macro level. Too many small, randomly whirling bits, and they all need to line up just so.


TSR2, Hawker P.1154 (Supersonic Harrier)

Royal Aircraft Establishment - merged and amalgamated a dozen times to become DERA - privatised. Now QinetiQ.

Most of the decent research sites are gone now.

GEC/Plessey

I'm going to stop now, it'll get depressing.


Dyson were doing quite well till Mr Dyson went pro brexit and moved the company to Sinagpore.


DeHavilland didn’t do that badly - the last Nimrod (based on the Comet) was retired in 2011. The name disappeared because, like a whole host of British aviation manufacturers (English Electric, Folland, Vickers, Supermarine, Hawker-Siddeley, Bristol, Hunting, Avro), they successively merged together until all that was left was a name you probably are familiar with - BAE Systems.


Except that, unlike de Havailland, Boeing is too big to fail. There's just no way the US will allow it to keel over, and leave Airbus the sole supplier. And as with the banks, you can bet that this implicit guarantee gets figured into what decisions people take.





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