Friday, March 31, 2006
Drop Kittens, Not Bombs? Been there, done that...
Cats Not Bombs, eh? Careful what you wish for...
"Probably the warning I heard most often in conversations about the Gates Foundation had to do with the law of unintended consequences.
“Grant-making on that scale is a very difficult art,” says Edward A. Ames at the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, who fears that the people in charge of the “huge new pools of money being turned to philanthropy” may not know enough about “the impact they can have on the fields that are the objects of their generosity.”...
The best story about unintended consequences comes from Gordon Conway at the Rockefeller Foundation, who worked as an entomologist in Borneo in the 1960’s. In an attempt to control malaria, the W.H.O. sprayed houses with DDT.
The campaign did kill mosquitoes and reduced the incidence of malaria, but it had side effects. House lizards ate the dead bugs, then cats ate the lizards and died from the accumulated insecticide. Without cats, the local rat population exploded—rats that could carry plague and typhus. Neighboring states donated cats to the affected upland regions.
For the remote interior, the W.H.O. and Singapore’s Royal Air Force devised a maneuver worthy of Disney called Operation Cat Drop: they packed cats into perforated containers and sent them plummeting into upland villages by parachute."
real cat drop story