25 August 2012

The Best Way to Predict the Future is to Invent It

...The best way to predict the future is to invent it. Really smart people with reasonable funding can do just about anything... _Alan Kay... 1971

Modern humans living in the advanced world, stand at a crossroads. They can choose to continue down a frightened green collectivist road of stasis and stagnation, or they can choose to invent a bold and abundant future for themselves. The difference in mental and emotional outlook is crucial, making all the difference in the choices that such people will make.

A powerful surge of technological development during the 1980s and 1990s spurred a fabulous global economic boom and expansion. It was natural that politicians, global investors, and bankers would turn such a boom into a bubble, and that the bubble would eventually burst -- as it did in 2008.

The bursting of financial bubbles is a common event that should have led into the next round of technological advance and economic expansion. Instead, we are seeing a "great reversal and retreat" being led by the EU, Barack Obama, and assorted green collectivists in governments, intergovernments, and NGOs around the globe. Still, academics and the skankstream aside, is that truly the road that most people want to choose?

Scientists and technologists are producing a huge deluge of data that could be used to build a new era of economic expansion. But the mechanism for moving from ideas and concepts to fully realised enterprises has become glommed up by unlimited government mandate, regulation, code, and prohibition.

Opportunity evaporates as government grows. The best way to grow opportunity is to limit government.

Perhaps history could be a guide:
That long, post-1980 run of “irrational exuberance” happened because of an underlying technological revolution: The advent of distributed computing and the Internet. 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.

We’ve been here before. Back in 1980, America was deep in the mire of the Carter recession with a wounded economy barely limping along. The real estate and the job markets were in a shambles. Boomers faced dim prospects as they poured out of colleges in record numbers. Then as now, the Middle East was in turmoil, and energy entered center stage for the first time as a subject for national debate. And most people thought the big innovations that transformed the world during the preceding three decades were essentially played out.

The big worry of the day was that Japan, having launched a national effort to leapfrog America’s mighty computer industry, was about to overtake our economy. The Japanese juggernaut seemed unstoppable. The journalism and headlines of that era are eerily similar to those today bemoaning China’s ascendance and America’s lethargy.

Then came the post-1980 boom arising from the confluence of two great forces. There was a government that, through three successive administrations, held a favorable attitude toward the private sector. And that private sector was unleashed at the right moment in history, just when the next cycle of information industries began to emerge. _American.com
When Ronald Reagan was elected president the Dow Jones Industrial Average hovered around 1,000 (less than 2,800 inflation adjusted) — and had dipped, under President Carter, as low as 759. Unemployment stood at an unacceptable 7+%. The Soviet Union was aggressive, bellicose, and, in the eyes of the Western policy elite, could be but contained, not challenged. At the end of Reagan’s eight years in office, the Dow had tripled in value, on its way much higher. Job growth was vibrant. The USSR was well on its way to dissolution. _Forbes
The current road being traveled is a road to stagnation. When government is the driving force in society, opportunities are rare, and almost always involve crony connections of a corrupt nature.

If the government can be turned away from its current path to unlimited tyranny, the natural human tendency to improve their lot can be unleashed.

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Blogger Bruce Hall said...

Strangely, we are in our 3rd "summer of recovery." Hope that changes soon.

Sunday, 26 August, 2012  
Blogger al fin said...

Even more strangely, what the US economy may need is to break its addiction to government crack -- which may well trigger a short and painful recession. If at the same time the US frees up its private sector by calling off the government dogs, it can enjoy a very long period of sustained broad-based growth.

Cancer (malignant government growth) is not fatal in its early and middle stages. Only in the end stage. Obama is bringing on the end stage -- perhaps he has a "Sampson complex?"

Sunday, 26 August, 2012  

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“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act” _George Orwell

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