A few weeks ago, I blogged about the North Korean communist goverment's plan to alleviate its food shortages by breeding giant rabbits purchased in Germany. At that time, I listed several reasons why North Korea's giant rabbit breeding program was unlikely to succeed any better than have other experiments in economic central planning. However, I have to admit that I didn't expect that the program would fail for this reason. According to the Sydney Morning Herald (hat tip Tom Palmer):
A German farmer who sold 12 giant rabbits to North Korea with the aim of setting up a breeding program to alleviate famine has said he was shocked to hear they were eaten at Kim Jong-il's birthday banquet.
Karl Szmolinsky sent his oversized bunnies to Pyongyang to boost meat production. Der Spiegel reported that the 68-year-old breeder had been due to travel to North Korea to help set up the farm, but had received a telephone call last week from an official cancelling the trip.
Mr Szmolinsky told Der Spiegel that although he had no evidence, he believed his rabbits, which each weighed more than 10 kilograms, had been eaten at a banquet for the North Korean leader on February 16. "North Korea won't be getting any more rabbits from me, they don't even need to bother asking," he told the magazine.
In retrospect, maybe I should have foreseen the problem. Since Kim Jong Il is more than willing to kill millions of people, he surely wouldn't have any scruples about offing a few rabbits in order to liven up his birthday party. More generally, in a centrally planned economy, the most desirable goods tend to end up in the hands of the central planners. And the chief central planner in North Korea is undoubtedly Mr. Dear Leader Kim Jong Il. As the North Korean government's official website puts it, he is "the sun of the nation and of mankind." The people of North Korea - and the world - would be better off if Dear little KJI were fed to the giant rabbits instead of the reverse. Perhaps we should put the "killer rabbit" that once attacked Jimmy Carter on the case.