14th October 2010
Boondoggles (government failure)
This term, "boondoggle", used for white elephants mostly in the government sector has come back in vogue recently. It doesn't refer to day-to-day failure in policy design in government but is an evocative term used for large mega-failures.
The term originated in 1935 but has been popularised by Peter Costello, a former Treasurer of Australia, in his article yesterday (NBN: the national boondoggle network).
Other examples below:
- "$3,187,000 relief is spent to teach jobless to play; $19,658,512 voted for April; 'Boon Doggles' Made". New York Times. April 4, 1935.
- Boondoggle in the Motor City: Detroit's Train to Nowhere.
- No Boondoggle Too Costly
- The Ethanol Boondoggle (PDF)
- G-20 summit: '$1 billion boondoggle'?
- "The Greatest Boondoggle in History"
This term doesn't apply only to government failure:
I'm sure people can add to this list of boondoggles. There's never any shortage of them.