The Diminishing Returns of Technology By Brian Simpson

     I am not really interested in the moon landing conspiracy stuff, since I am impressed by the fact that lasers can be shot at the moon to hit some object there that reflects them back, presumably, unless the moon object was put there by extra-terrestrials. Anyway, who cares? Man is not going to the moon on a daily basis, so technology seems to have fizzled out:

“If progress is inevitable, why don’t we have hotels on the moon? For some, it is easier to believe that the moon landing was fake than to accept that technological innovation has just stopped. The Hiatus in Progress
But wait, don’t we have smartphones now, the internet, and all sorts of cool gadgets and apps that didn’t exist 50 years ago? True, the fields of electronics and telecommunications have seen enormous advances, but these few hotspots of innovation cloak the fact that, in almost all other areas, technological development has ceased. Silicon Valley investor Peter Thiel documented this decline in his book Zero to One, in which he describes several surprising facts:

•    Consider the average car speed. Due to more traffic and congestion, it takes longer to get to work today than it did in 1970. Air travel takes longer, too. We used to have supersonic airplanes, but the Concorde went out of business in 2003.
•    In 1970, a family could afford to buy a house with only one salary. Increasingly this is not true. Health care and education used to be affordable, but the prices keep going up.
•    You have perhaps heard of the growing problem of microbial resistance to antibiotics. Maybe that makes more sense if you also knew that no new antibiotic drug has been developed since the 1960s.
•    Medical innovation also is slowing down. Despite more and more money being invested in drug development, fewer drugs make it to the market, according to Thiel.

     Why has innovation nearly stopped? The simple answer is likely regulations. Regulations slow down and prevent innovation by making every endeavor more expensive and less efficient. Today, for instance, it takes on average ten years and $100 million to get a new drug through the FDA approval process. Unlike many other countries, America has spent much of its wealth on financing bureaucrats that make life difficult for inventors. For that reason, the United States is no longer the freest country in the world. In fact, the Scandinavian countries that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) often describes as an ideal typically score higher on economic freedom than the United States. A key factor in their success is a lean government with few and more efficient regulations. Despite being large welfare states, it is easier to do business in these countries than in America. In short, red tape and socialism ultimately kill off societies by making administration increasingly difficult, destroying innovation, so that the society finally rots and blows away like dust in the wind.



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Saturday, 13 August 2022