Turkey in the Straw..:
Re: Enthusiasm for Ross Douthat: Brad DeLong Smackdown Watch

(Lack of) Technological Progress in Equitation...

Charles Stross reports from the Lothian and Borders police:

Charlie's Diary: Horses for courses: [O]ne factoid stuck in my head. Lothian and Borders are unusual in that they're one of the police forces that still has horses — eight of them, at present. How much does it cost to maintain eight horses? Answer: around £480,000 a year, making them roughly as expensive as (if not more expensive than) a helicopter unit. Each horse requires a full-time officer, and they need exercise, stabling, and other facilities that run to £30,000 a year per animal — more than the price of a new pursuit car. (And why does Edinburgh's police force still have horses (instead of, say, another chopper)? Because after London this is the city where the Queen is in residence most often, and they're needed for ceremonial duties)...

A one man-year per year to maintain a horse in an urban setting (i.e., without essentially-free pasture, and without the horse's output being a valuable nitrogenous and carboniferous agricultural input, if you know what I mean). That's expensive. And it probably scales back to the dawn of cities...

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