Tuesday, August 28, 2012

A New Era of Transformational Technology Is Here

A synopsis of the article in The American, "The Next Great Growth Cycle," by Mark P. Mills, CEO of the Digital Power Group and adjunct fellow of the Manhattan Institute:
Apple went public in December 1980. And there followed the longest run of economic growth in modern history, spanning five presidencies from Reagan through Clinton. Apple grew to become the world’s largest market cap company and a tech icon. 

According to today’s techno-pessimists (Tyler Cowen, Niall Ferguson and Jean Gimpel are cited in the article), nothing like that can happen again because technology and America have plateaued. Such naysayers, who flourish like mushrooms in the depths of economic recessions, have been wrong in every one of the 19 economic downturns we have experienced since 1912. And they’re wrong again. 

The techno-pessimists are innovation Malthusians cut from the same cloth as the resource Malthusians. Every time reality proves them wrong following each crisis, they say a variant of the same thing: I may have been wrong before, but I’m right this time. 

Technological innovation is pivotal to whether the American economy will experience prosperity growth again. In a world with a growing population but a tepidly expanding economic pie, we see shrunken expectations and a reversion to fighting over how to get one’s “fair share.” People lose faith that the pie will ever grow again; in essence, they lose faith in the future itself. Certainly there’s limited optimism today about technology’s future and what that might mean for the economy, jobs, debt, taxation, and fairness.

When it comes to predicting the future—especially of technology—with all due respect, one does not turn to historians or economists.  We are poised to enter a new era that will come from the convergence of three technological transformations that have already happened: Big Data, the Wireless Wired World, and Computational Manufacturing (3D printing). 

The emerging grand transformations—Big Data, Wireless Broadband, Computational Manufacturing—are all an integrated part of the next great cycle of the information economy. Returning to Drucker, the evidence that this transformation has already happened is visible in Census data. The share of our economy devoted to moving bits—ideas and information—is already much bigger than the share associated with moving people and stuff. 

Not only does the United States have the world’s most sophisticated and reliable (and low-cost) electric grid that is a vital infrastructure to fuel the information industries, but the United States also leads in the development of each of the core technological transformations. All things considered, there is every reason to be optimistic about our future. 

You can’t predict what company will be the next Apple—though investors try. But you can predict there will be another Apple-like company. And there will emerge an entirely new family of companies—and jobs, and growth—arising from the transformational technology changes already happening.

51 Comments:

At 8/28/2012 9:13 PM, Blogger Jon Murphy said...

This is a little off topic, and I apologize, but I need to come to Tyler Cowen's defense here.

I think his words are taken out of context.

Cowen never says we've hit a plateau and this is the end. His point was the "low-hanging fruit" has been used up. To keep advancing technologically, we have to do more. What I got from his book was that we still have great technological achievements ahead of us, they just won't necessarily come fast and furious.

 
At 8/28/2012 9:35 PM, Blogger Bret said...

I'd sure love to get Cowen and Perry into the same room. Let the pessimist and the optimist duke it out and see who wins the debate.

 
At 8/28/2012 9:51 PM, Blogger hancke said...

One of the worst techno-pessimists, John C. Dvorak, has made a career out of being wrong about technology advancements. He predicted the failure of MS Windows and the Macintosh back in the '80s. Weathermen have a better record.

We continue to have major technological breakthroughs, many do not make front page news or are taken for granted.

 
At 8/28/2012 10:18 PM, Blogger arbitrage789 said...

I am absolutely a "techno-optimist"... very much so.

BUT, at the same time, there are FAR too many people in this country who just want to sit on the couch and collect a government check; and they vote accordingly.

I'm not optimistic that we're going to get the debt under control any time soon. So it's possible that we could have a thriving tech sector in the midst of an otherwise stagnant economy.

 
At 8/28/2012 10:22 PM, Blogger Michael E. Marotta said...

Thanks for the heads-up! Like television - which had precursors in the 1890s - computational manufacturing in particular, but Big Data, and Wireless Broadband, also, have deep roots. Only now do the shoots poke from the surface... It remains to be seen what kinds of fruits they bear.

 
At 8/28/2012 10:23 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Apparently Cowen, Fergusson, and Gimpel don't peruse Gizmodo and Slash Dot all that often...

 
At 8/28/2012 10:33 PM, Blogger hancke said...

Very true on some technologies having deep roots. 4G goes back many years. If you told me a few years ago our cell phones would be a capable of 40+Mbit/s, I wouldn't have believed it.

 
At 8/28/2012 10:41 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Nice collection of posts by Dr. Perry. I think the future is bright, especially if the Fed can catch the optimism expressed in these posts. Also, inflation is dead.

 
At 8/28/2012 11:46 PM, Blogger Richard said...

I think "online education" should also be somewhere in the list

 
At 8/29/2012 12:28 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

JM,

How does Cowen know that the low hanging fruit in technology has been picked?

I'm sure he has a method, but how does he know it's correct?

 
At 8/29/2012 12:39 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

BUT, at the same time, there are FAR too many people in this country who just want to sit on the couch and collect a government check; and they vote accordingly.

Arbitrage, it only matters if you have an attachment to the United States that binds you absolutely. The only thing that makes me pessimistic about the United States is the vast expansion of The Blob that is government (which if you remember the movie, gobbles up everything in its path as it gets bigger).

There are places on the globe that are much friendlier to entrepreneurs and where government is smaller and weaker and competes for the most productive. Switzerland is one place. Singapore is another and the list is longer than that. Hardly hellholes.

On a personal level, I stopped worrying about what will happen to the United States when I suddenly realized that technology has made it possible for me to conduct business anywhere on the globe from anywhere on the globe so long as I have internet (much easier to get now) and a computer.

let the system implode. You'll be fine.

 
At 8/29/2012 2:24 AM, Blogger PeakTrader said...

The App Economy Produces Twice as Many US Jobs as There Are Jobs in Apple's Chinese Manufacturing
Forbes
2/08/2012

"This industry is entirely new: Before Apple brought out the iPhone in 2007 none of it existed at all.

The app economy (writing apps for smartphones and Facebook essentially) produces twice as many jobs in the US economy as there are people working to manufacture Apple‘s products in China.

It’s generally agreed that about 230,000 of the 1 million people employed by Foxconn in China are there making the goods that Apple sells.

230,000 making the hardware on something between $4,000 and $6,000 a year. These people are currently all in China.

460,000 in the US, all making at a reasonable guess $40,000 to $60,000 a year.

There are some 300,000 jobs directly related to the writing, support and updating of apps. This includes the people in HR, marketing and so on who support the engineers doing the actual writing.

Then a conservative multiplier of 1.5 is applied to give us the number of 450,000 total jobs produced by the industry (exactly, 466,000).

The multiplier is to deal with the fact that our software engineers and associated people obviously consume late night pizza and high caffeine colas, thus providing jobs for other people in supplying those goods. Plus housing, clothes and all the other things that people spend their money on."

 
At 8/29/2012 6:32 AM, Blogger Krishnan said...

"Humans are the ultimate resource" (Simon said) - As long as people are allowed to live freely and engage in mutually beneficial pursuits - and GOVERNMENT does not interfere - who knows what could be possible.

"Innovation Malthusians" - I wonder what is it that makes people pessimistic about people - given all the evidence - Sure, tyrants can always come and steal and plunder and kill ... and yet we have emerged - the world at large has emerged to become better ... (Sure, there are lots of reasons to be pessimistic - and when I find myself like that, I remind myself of what "Simon said"

 
At 8/29/2012 6:44 AM, Blogger Krishnan said...

"Humans are the ultimate resource" (Simon said) - As long as people are allowed to live freely and engage in mutually beneficial pursuits - and GOVERNMENT does not interfere - who knows what could be possible.

"Innovation Malthusians" - I wonder what is it that makes people pessimistic about people - given all the evidence - Sure, tyrants can always come and steal and plunder and kill ... and yet we have emerged - the world at large has emerged to become better ... (Sure, there are lots of reasons to be pessimistic - and when I find myself like that, I remind myself of what "Simon said"

 
At 8/29/2012 7:00 AM, Blogger phoneranger said...

"there followed the longest run of economic growth in modern history, spanning five presidencies from Reagan through Clinton"

1)Reagan minus Clinton is 3
2) 1946-1975 was longer
3) Since GWB in 2001, the economy has been on average doing nothing
4) Tech is great but it's a small lever for a big economy which is globalized
5) Here's hoping.

 
At 8/29/2012 7:23 AM, Blogger Krishnan said...

Re: Jon Murphy - I am not sure exactly what Cowen said - but a title was "The Great Stagnation" - i.e. implying that growth has stopped, not advancing - and that is simply not true. And Cowen should have known that of course low hanging fruits may be gone - and that it may get more difficult - it always is - with any new advance, we have rapid growth and improvement - followed by slower growth and slower improvement - and we have a paradigm shift - and it happens all over again - THAT is the nature of things - and has been for a long time

 
At 8/29/2012 8:50 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Tyler Cowen's thesis is a bunch of crap. I don't use words like that very often.

Innovation - if we're referring to all technological and process innovation - has neither happened in spurts nor will ever happen in spurts. Tyler's examples of low hanging fruit reflect nothing more than subjective biases about what innovations are important and what are not.

One example: Tyler's assertion that today's households do not look very different from those of 40 and 60 years ago. Of course, that's not true at all. Anyone who purchased the appliances available for the middle class household back then knows better. Anyone who paid utility bills knows how much more energy efficient our homes are today. (Tyler was a child 40 years ago. I wasn't.)

Tyler's assertion that we have not realized technological breakthroughs in 40 years is completely wrong. My wife has been an operating room nurse for almost 40 years. The changes she has seen are amazing. One of the most important: the development of minimially invasive surgical technoques. Another: robotic assisted surgery. Tyler may not believe those developments to be breakthroughs. But the real experts, such as my wife and the surgeons she works with, know better.

I think Tyler believes he is a renaissance man, with "expertise" adequate to offer opinions about dozens of fields. The truth is that he is not an expert at all on the subject about which he writes.

 
At 8/29/2012 9:08 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

I think it is a mistake to credit the U.S. economic growth of the 1980s and 1990s to innovation. Certainly the personal computer and the internet were important innovations. But Japan had these innovations and didn't realize the same growth.

The deregulations started by presidents Ford and Carter, and completed by Reagan, were likely more important than the technological innovations of the period. In particular, the deregulation of transportation and energy (under Reagan) provided major boosts to the economy.

Although this is controversial, I believe that innovations in corporate finance also contributed greatly to the economic boom. As Murray Rothbard argued in "Making Economic Sense":

"Michael Milken was no villain; his large monetary earnings reflected, as free-market analysis shows, his tremendous productivity in helping stockholders get out from under the Williams Act of 1967, which crippled takeover bids and thereby fastened the rule of inefficient, old-line corporate managers and financial interests upon the backs of the stockholders. "

Plenty of low-hanging fruit remains:

- in deregulating industry;
- in removing the shackles of government from our most productive;
- in tax reform;

Just to name a few.

 
At 8/29/2012 9:48 AM, Blogger Scott Drum said...

While there is reason to be optimistic, there is also reason to temper that optimism. Innovation is directly related to investment. When the payoff for successful innovation is reduced, there will be less investment -- both from entrepreneurs and outside investors. In a variety of ways government is reducing the expected payoff from successful innovation. Contrast the climate during the great computer revolution of the 1980s to the one we currently face -- huge debt overhang, the prospect of rising, not falling taxes, falling workforce participation, and an administration that demagogues the successful and promotes idleness.
These factors won't stop the jet of innovation, but they are headwinds that will retard our ground-speed.

 
At 8/29/2012 9:49 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

and you can predict that that particular convergence isn't going to mean much, particularly in comparison to many others.

i an a huge techno optimist, but if you want to see where the real action is, look to the interaction of semiconductors and biology.

getting to nano scale semis is a HUGE deal, because that is the scale at which basic biology takes place and we can start to really interact with it for the first time.

wireless 3d printers fed with file for products are sort of neat (and really expensive) ways to make stuff, but it's incremental.

semibiotech is going to blow open a whole new world.

even the internet itself was mostly incremental. it just let us do what we were doing before faster and with greater reach. the sorts of bioengineering we will see in the next 50 years will be a kind of change that has literally never before been seen on earth.

there is no paucity of low hanging fruit. there is always new low hanging fruit. (or you could look at it as each new innovation makes our arms longer, making formerly high fruit suddenly reachable)

betting against progress is a parlor game for fools.

however, to echo jet's sentiment, there is one think that the impending bio-revolution need fear: government.

banning technologies, throwing up outlandish regulatory hurdles and driving costs through the stratosphere, licensing, crony capitalism, you name it. that's how you kill innovation in its crib.

biotech has long been a serious hotspot there and seem poised to get worse as we get further into genes. that needs to be held in check for this to happen as well and as quickly as it should.

 
At 8/29/2012 10:05 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

Another example of how Tyler Cowen misinterprets innovation is the field of air transport. Tyler pointed out that the development of the airplane was an innovation from the 1880 to 1940 period. That assertion completely ignores all the changes made to aircraft since then.

The first jet aircraft did not even fly until 1940, and was not used to any great extent for military or commercial use until years later. Anyone who believes that the development of jet powered aircraft over the past 70 years is not a major innovation probably has not traveled several hours in a propeller powered aircraft.

Aircraft innovation hardly stopped with the introduction of jet engines. On the commercial aviation side, jet aircraft today are 70 percent more efficient (on a fuel burn er seat miles basis) than those flown in the 1950s.

Innovation was achieved in fuel efficiency because low fares are what consumers demanded. Tyler may believe that higher speeds would represent more innovation. But price, not speed, is what consumers wanted (which is probably why the Concorde failed).

Aircraft innovation for military use has been stunning. Tyler may not consider such innovation important. But even he must admit that, however much he may disagree with their need, the innovations in military aircraft are simply amazing. The nature of warfare and surveillance - with priorities determined by the elected representatives of the citizenry - has changed radically since WWII.

Tyler Cowen is not an expert on air transport. I'm not either, but I know a hell of a lot more about the industry than he does. So why did so many accept his argument that innovation in air transport stagnated?

 
At 8/29/2012 10:09 AM, Blogger Jet Beagle said...

morganovich: " there is always new low hanging fruit. (or you could look at it as each new innovation makes our arms longer, making formerly high fruit suddenly reachable)"

That's a very insightful comment. In fact, that's the best counter argument to Tyler Cowen's thesis that I remember reading.

 
At 8/29/2012 10:24 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

however, to echo jet's sentiment, there is one think that the impending bio-revolution need fear: government.

On any particular spot on earth, I agree. In general, I don't. There are and will be places on earth that compete for the productive by promising to get out of their way.

Technology diminishes the necessity to produce in a particular location.

If innovation is stifled here, it will move somewhere else.

The source of my pessimism is always government, but I am pessimistic about particular places - the U.S. is on the wrong trajectory. France is a lost cause. But as long as people are not married to a spot on earth (and when has humanity stayed put?), then government has little chance of hampering innovation on a global scale.

Government has always been a meddling, hampering force and yet over the last 200 years each generation has managed to live markedly better than the one before. So, even with the stomping boot of government, the bio-revolution needn't fear. It'll adapt.

 
At 8/29/2012 11:58 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

methinks-

to some extent, i'm sure you are right, but keep in mind that you need an intersection of things for IP based revolutions to work.

you need enough government and stability to protect property but little enough not to stifle innovation.

just moving to somalia is not really and answer.

if the developed nations that comprise the markets refuse to allow in stem cells or gene mods or what have you, it will retard the market hugely by denying it the buyers it needs to recoup[ investment and reinvest etc.

if they demand multi billion dollar trials to let drugs, devices, diagnostics, and implants be used, then development slows, prices soar, and an industry stagnates and only pursues the biggest of indications.

just being able to skirt laws to do development is not enough. you need to be able to bring products to market as well, and this is where governments pose a far greater risk.

 
At 8/29/2012 11:59 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"Technology diminishes the necessity to produce in a particular location"...

Ahhh methinks, now that's a pearl of wisdom for sure...

It also reenforces the need for some sort of viable transportation system...

 
At 8/29/2012 12:15 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Morganovich,

Why why why why why is everybody always using Somalia as the alternative to the United States lately?

Why not Switzerland or Singapore or Hong Kong?

You make a good point and I don't disagree that government makes everything less efficient than it otherwise would be.

Yet, it won't stop innovation completely and it can't block access to products without widespread support of the public.

IMO, the problem is that the regulatory bodies stifling innovation find widespread support from the public.

No, innovation is not as efficient or fast as it should be, but it won't stop. It'll just be frustratingly slow thanks to the nanny state.

 
At 8/29/2012 12:24 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Juandos,

Those air machines and motorized horse buggies are probably sufficient :)


I don't need to move my butt so much as a millimeter to the right to be able to conduct business on the SIMEX, CBOE, or LSE and I haven't seen my CPA for a couple of years. He's 2500 miles away and I don't even need the post office to transport my tax documents to him. Oh, and I daily conduct business with people I've never met in person. Basically, nothing is preventing me from being a shut-in with access to the whole world thanks to this internet thingie.

actually.....that last part is a little scary :)

 
At 8/29/2012 12:28 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

methinks-

my choice of somalia was not intended to convey anyhting in particular. it was just the first name that jumped into my head (perhaps because it has been used a lot lately)

but it really does not matter much which country we use be it singapore or suriname.

if the big, developed countries (and let's face it, between the us and eu, you basically have 2 entitles controlling the vast majority of the market for high end healthcare) choose to make it difficult of impossible to use gene and deep biology products, the market will stagnate.

why develop a product for which there is no market?

notions that the public gets much say in this seem questionable, particularly in the us (though in the eu in different ways as well.

the FDA is a bureaucracy that exists largely outside of the democratic process. it would take real doing to shift them to a credentialing agency as opposed to a gatekeeper. it's possible, but, as you say, i'm not even sure such a policy has democratic support here.

the same is true of many EU agencies that ban GMO's etc.

companies will focus on what they CAN sell in the big markets and what people will pay for. pediatric drugs will continue to stagnate because there is no money in them (because 50% of US children are on medicare and medicare demands 90-95% rebates on pediatric drugs) and we'll get 7 new anti depressants and ED pills.

as you say, governments will not be able to stop innovation, but they can sure slow it down.

the us just had the worst summer drought since the 30's. corn production fell 13%, a breathtakingly good result for a drought this bad. in the 30's it would have been 50%+. it will still be the 8th largest crop in american history. absent ethanol, we'd be AWASH in corn. this is the power of innovation.

the UN convinced africa NOT to use these drought resistant strains of corn for political and imagined safety reasons. thus, any time the rain stops, the crops are disastrous. good old government...

 
At 8/29/2012 12:47 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


There are places on the globe that are much friendlier to entrepreneurs and where government is smaller and weaker and competes for the most productive. Switzerland is one place. Singapore is another and the list is longer than that. Hardly hellholes.

Hellholes for the workers, but you don't care. This is doubly so in the Eastern nations where workers are considered chattel outright - such as with Singapore and Hong Kong.

Switzerland at least shows a potential for redemption, but it must show that it is not just a nation for transnational socialites.


On a personal level, I stopped worrying about what will happen to the United States when I suddenly realized that technology has made it possible for me to conduct business anywhere on the globe from anywhere on the globe so long as I have internet (much easier to get now) and a computer.

Given the advances in data-mining and crunching, that also means the government can be one step ahead of you - should it be offended at your location or devotion to country. Never mind that it has a constant supply of citizens willing and motivated to defend it - from those professing an immunity from governmental penalty.

 
At 8/29/2012 1:24 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Hellholes for the workers, but you don't care"...

Yeah sethstorm, I don't give a damn about the workers in Ohio...

 
At 8/29/2012 1:30 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

seth-

do you even listen to yourself?

first you equate asian economies with slavery and lament this fact, then you applaud the fact that other countries will be able to force others under their heel because it benefits you.

as ever, your ideas are disjointed, hypocritical, self contradictory, and deeply fascist.

this is literally terrifying.

"that also means the government can be one step ahead of you - should it be offended at your location or devotion to country."

so you think that government should have the power to pushily me and take what is mine because i am insufficiently devoted to country? isn't this just the slavery which you just railed against? you are a pure hypocrite and a shockingly entitled fascist that tries to use the system to take from others and give to you.

i actually feel exactly the same way that methinks does.

it's why i have dual citizenship.

if and when folks like you manage to sic the jackbooted thugs on me, i'll just leave.

it's funny that you try to express outrage about asian workers being "chattel" when you yourself espouse precisely such a doctrine of subjugation but seem ok with it so long as you hold the whip hand.

 
At 8/29/2012 1:33 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Morganovich,

I know you didn't really mean anything by Somalia. It's just that it's become the latest retort to anyone who expresses displeasure with the size and scope of the U.S. government. "Oh, yeah?! Well, then just move to Somalia! I hear there's no government THERE!!!". Just kind of funny seeing it again in your comment.

Government provides me with no reason for optimism either. On this we have always agreed.

 
At 8/29/2012 1:33 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Juandos,

That's "OIHO".

 
At 8/29/2012 1:39 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

if and when folks like you manage to sic the jackbooted thugs on me, i'll just leave.

If history is any guide, Sethstorm's reply to that will be that the U.S. government will hunt you down where ever you may hide in the world.

Sethstorm has the natural instincts of a Stalin but lacks the acumen to accumulate the power necessary to exercise them.

 
At 8/29/2012 1:49 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

methinks-

"
If history is any guide, Sethstorm's reply to that will be that the U.S. government will hunt you down where ever you may hide in the world."

which, of course, is an excellent reason to keep assets offshore and maintain citizenship in a small nation that is not interested nor capable of such things.

"Sethstorm has the natural instincts of a Stalin but lacks the acumen to accumulate the power necessary to exercise them."

thank god for small favors.

 
At 8/29/2012 1:55 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"I don't need to move my butt so much as a millimeter to the right to be able to conduct business on the SIMEX, CBOE, or LSE and I haven't seen my CPA for a couple of years"...

Exactly the right sort of example methinks...

Here I am sitting in the heartland watching on my laptop Scott Broom of USAToday pushing a live video feed while driving around Biloxi during the hurricane via a Cinncy paper owned by the Gannet Corp people...

Techno plateau, I think not!

People with a little imagination will always find new ways even with older technology to keep pushing up that plateau...

 
At 8/29/2012 2:00 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

m-

"Government provides me with no reason for optimism either. On this we have always agreed."

the current path of government, yes, i agree. but i think i am more optimistic about government as a whole than you are.

a government that limits itself to protecting the borders, protecting the rights and property of its citizens, and to enforcing contracts offers tremendous benefits to those who inhabit a nation.

this is why folks like L love to cry "somolia" as a straw man any time an entitlement program is threatened.. even overreaching government (like ours) is preferable to the war of all against all.

i tend to think of it as a continuum. imagine an x axis of amount of government and a y axis of benefit to the society.

to my mind, the first vestiges of rights and contract based constitutional government provide very sharp gains in benefit. at some point, that tops out and as government goes beyond such, you get declines.

i define rights here in a very strict sense. rights are negative, not positive. you have the right not to have your property taken or your speech abridged. rights cannot require others to take positive action. there is no right to healthcare or education.

if you cannot have it alone on a desert island, i do not think it can be a right.

if we had taken the us government as it existed in 1800 and simply applied to all races and genders equally, i suspect we'd be far better off that we are now.

i recently saw a very interesting stat which was that just taking 1% a year from us growth over the last 150 years would have left us poorer than mexico.

imagine what one extra % could have done. if we were 4X as rich, even our poor would be richer than the middle class anywhere else.

 
At 8/29/2012 2:27 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

which, of course, is an excellent reason to keep assets offshore and maintain citizenship in a small nation that is not interested nor capable of such things.

No question about it. Also a reason to keep hard assets that are not as easily confiscated as financial assets are there.

Yes, I am far more pessimistic about government's ability to stay within acceptable boundaries than you are. And I will also further qualify that statement by saying that the larger the government, the more more likely it is to grow like a weed, suffocating everything in its path. sigh. That's the downside to not having natural predators.

I'm on board with your continuum. I concede that government CAN perform valuable tasks. I lament that it can't seem to stay within its boundaries.

If government could restrict itself to the functions you describe, my pessimism would dissipate.

I think our poor ARE richer than the middle class almost anywhere else!

Regulatory compliance costs are estimated to rob us of a quarter of our annual GDP. And that is probably an underestimation because it's hard to measure how much more we could have produced if all those resources deployed to appease worthless bureaucracies, were instead put to productive use.

We are far far far poorer than we could be.

 
At 8/29/2012 3:02 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

"I'm on board with your continuum. I concede that government CAN perform valuable tasks. I lament that it can't seem to stay within its boundaries."

i am in complete agreement with that.

the US seemed to do a good job (apart from on inclusiveness) for the first 150 years or so, but since the 30's, it's been all downhill from a boundaries standpoint. (though you could make an argument about lincoln and states rights)

unless we can get a massively more muscular supreme court and some serious reinterpretation of some of the highly questionable activist premises it seems to favor these days, i'm not really sure how much rollback we can get.

 
At 8/29/2012 4:26 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


it's why i have dual citizenship.

It's also why I don't make a point of smacking the beehive while shoving my hand up into the thing - then swinging the hive around like a boxing glove all over the place.

You might prefer to play countries against each other. I prefer to consolidate/minimize the sets of red tape by siding with the US and immediate First World allies.

I'm not going to apologize for what the US has done, is doing, or will do. What I am saying is that you don't give the motivation for government to act in the first place.


which, of course, is an excellent reason to keep assets offshore and maintain citizenship in a small nation that is not interested nor capable of such things.

That small nation isn't going to help you if it's overrun faster than one can move assets out of it.

In short, all the technological changes that favor us, also favor governments as well. Until people start colonizing other planets, there really won't be much of a way to escape.

 
At 8/29/2012 4:30 PM, Blogger Methinks said...

Sethstorm does NOT disappoint.

Points for consistency, though.

 
At 8/29/2012 7:31 PM, Blogger hancke said...

Combine biotech and 3D printing and you get body parts. Imagine the input material being a person's own cells to build bones, blood vessels or organs that the body didn't reject!

http://www.theatlanticwire.com/technology/2011/12/reality-3d-printed-body-parts/45649/




 
At 8/29/2012 11:32 PM, Blogger JamesB.BKK said...

Pessimism in thinking about humans is well founded. I, for one, am down on my fellow citizens for their desire to put me under a heavier and heavier yoke and deprive me of my property in order to give it to others, and of my privacy in finances, political contributions and now medical records. Scoundrels. And, the folks in much of Europe and North America (ex. Mexico) are in a state of decline. Politicians borrow and debase currency to provide goodies to a greedy electorate, just as in Rome, France, the British Empire and all other failed civilizations and empires. Bread and circuses. You get what you deserve.

 
At 8/30/2012 9:42 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

seth-

"
You might prefer to play countries against each other. I prefer to consolidate/minimize the sets of red tape by siding with the US and immediate First World allies.

I'm not going to apologize for what the US has done, is doing, or will do. What I am saying is that you don't give the motivation for government to act in the first place."

1. as we have proven in the past, this is not true. you demand that others be forced to fund you and employers be forced to hire Americans, but you do not even buy american yourself. you are a rank hypocrite.

2. this sounds a lot like a wonderful political philosophy that was tried in europe in the 30's. it was called "appeasement". remember how well that worked? you are just saying that the best way to deal with a bully is give him what he wants and keep your head down. that's the philosophy of a slave, not a free man.

and this:

"
That small nation isn't going to help you if it's overrun faster than one can move assets out of it.

In short, all the technological changes that favor us, also favor governments as well. Until people start colonizing other planets, there really won't be much of a way to escape."

is just absurd.

what, you think i keep assets in a pile in some vault that you could roll in and steal? it doesn't work like that. i can keep them all over the place in electronic and insured form.

can you really believe that invading the credit suisse or bank of panama office on st kitts means you get to take my assets? seems unlikely.

you have some very strange ideas about what money is seth.

worse, you seem to believe that invasion and breach of treaty and law is fine to chase down and steal from others for your benefit.

no, i do not expect you ever to apologize. you are far too entitled and thuggish for that. you have the morals of an african despot.


 
At 8/30/2012 10:57 AM, Blogger Methinks said...

Morganovich,

Seth thinks two things:

A.) The U.S. will invade Switzerland to steal your assets (which may not all be money).

B.) If your sorry ass were to escape the USSA Gulag and run off to Switzerland, the U.S. will invade Switzerland to retrieve the runaway slave.

Aaaaah....the mind of a thug is such a beautious thing.

 
At 8/30/2012 4:20 PM, OpenID Sprewell said...

I wasn't expecting much but I went ahead and read the linked piece and was pleasantly surprised to see some facts and figures, rather than the usual listing of some tech fads as hand-waving for what comes next. That said, his three trends are not that substantial, let's go through them. Computational manufacturing seems to consist of 3D printing and vague claims of new materials, neither one is anywhere close to taking off. Wireless is very nice, but it really just takes the desktop internet of a decade ago and makes it accessible everywhere. While it's nice to be able to read a blog on a park bench or video chat while on the subway home, mobile really just lets you access the same information and services on the go. As for Big Data, when was the last time you thought, "If only I had a thousand servers at my disposal for the next couple of hours?" ;) There are a few niche purposes for all those servers, mostly for companies, but not much else.

I've said it many times before, but the crucial missing piece online is micropayments. Until someone deploys an easy way to pay for stuff online, there are a whole host of online services that cannot be paid for easily and so the market cannot clear. Once you can pay for it, that's when the internet revolution really takes off. :)

 
At 8/30/2012 9:33 PM, Blogger sethstorm said...


what, you think i keep assets in a pile in some vault that you could roll in and steal?

No. I know that it will be distributed in electronic and non-electronic forms as seen fit by you.


can you really believe that invading the credit suisse or bank of panama office on st kitts means you get to take my assets? seems unlikely.

No, but the likely setup for the US is to take all the electronics out on that jurisdiction, bring it into US jurisdiction, and rebuild.

Now if you're planning on leaving the US permanently - fine. Don't expect the US to bail you out just because you were once a citizen. Don't expect the US to treat you with the level of respect given to US citizens. Just be sure to pay your tab and forget that you were ever a part of the United States.



Sprewell:
I'd look at how some MMO(Massive Multiplayer Online) games handle transactions to get a good idea of how it is likely to be handled.

 
At 8/31/2012 2:05 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Jet:

"That's a very insightful comment. In fact, that's the best counter argument to Tyler Cowen's thesis that I remember reading."

Maybe Cowen means that all the low hanging fruit he is aware of appears to have been picked. :)

 
At 8/31/2012 2:34 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Methinks:

"Sethstorm does NOT disappoint. "

VERY consistent.

His comment does raise an interesting point. I have wondered why OBAMA has involved the US military in so many foreign countries - Libya, Yemen, Pakistan - and now it occurs to me that he's merely confiscating the assets of US ex-pats.

 
At 8/31/2012 2:44 AM, Blogger Ron H. said...

sethstorm" "I'd look at how some MMO(Massive Multiplayer Online) games handle transactions to get a good idea of how it is likely to be handled."

One of the many obvious advantages of living in your mother's basement. Non-stop game action.

 
At 8/31/2012 3:24 AM, OpenID Sprewell said...

Seth, games are one of the few segments where micropayments have already taken off, particularly in countries like Korea. It's not hard to handle the transactions, you just have to have some economic knowledge to know that's the best way to get paid for stuff online, something most techies are ignorant of. ;) The reason low-hanging fruit like this doesn't get picked is that the economists assume that the techies find it difficult to build micropayments technology and the techies assume that there is no reason to build it, since the economists don't push for it. Both are kind of dumb and don't know anything about the other field, so obvious solutions like this go unpicked. It'll happen eventually and micropayments will drive the next tech boom, mark my words.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home