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Darren Piggott

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Have capitalism, globalisation and greed stunted our technological growth?

I have often wondered if oil is the reason we are not driving around in hover cars or more cars running on alternative fuels, any car that could hover with precision, accuracy and long periods would probably not use a combustion engine, take also tires cars with the technology to hover would not require rubber tires.

I have no doubt we could have acheived these technologies years ago, but oil and rubber tires are extremely lucrative and make the few very rich, imagine a world of hover cars that are completely automated you wouldn't need to pay road tax they don' t need roads and car insurance would be drastically lower granted it may still be needed just incase!, but our whole society seems centred around a system of wealth and power to which only a few are privy, we seem to have spent the last sixty or so years continually reinventing the car, television and video in one form or another, because these few simple technologies keep us in a perpetual state of consumerism, not to mention our computing abilities which have managed to keep most of the western society in a state of wage slavery.

Our monetary system can only take the human race so far, but to get past our current statewe may need an overhaul of everything we know, not just our monetary system but our politics and our moral compass?

This is just a small example of how we could have expanded our technology over the last sixty years i'm sure there are many more.

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    Apr 13 2012: we need serious cleanup here, because as of now, it is unclear what your complaint is.

    in the first part, you suspect oil is behind the lack of development. how? how can a resource hinder us? how could our world be any better if we take a possibility out?

    then you accuse a "system of wealth and power", without telling us what that system would be. but the statement that only a few is rich is false. granted, there is a super rich elite. but that does not mean the rest of the people don't get anything. we are richer and have better lives now than, say, 30 years ago. i applies every country with no ongoing war or other bloodshed.

    you also mention consumerism, which seems to be both undefined, and contradictory to the large income difference. consumerism exactly means that we consume too much, and focus too much on consumption. what which one is the problem after all? consuming too much or being exploited/robbed/deprived?

    then we learn that "wage slavery" exists, though it is an oxymoron, and holds not much water. and it would somehow cause by our ability to "compute"? it would be better if we could not compute?

    finally, our monetary system is to blame. but what about it? are you condemning money? or you want the gold standard back? perhaps a world currency? exactly how our monetary system stalls progress? how to fix it?

    it would be useful to clearly define your terms, and explain your point in a less vague fashion.
    • Apr 16 2012: Hi Krisztián,

      Firstly it wasn't a complaint it was a question, but granted i probably didn't put the question across very well i have never been very good a getting my point across in writing and i end up waffling so please excuse me.

      Yes oil is a resource but it's a resource that has kept the human race chained to the combustion engine for many years, yes i do believe that for that reason progress has been slowed.

      The system of power and wealth i meantion, there is an obvious problem with the way wealth is shared around the globe, yes life is better than 30 years ago but wealth is relative to the time in which you live like the old saying says "we all live to our means", 30 years ago the household out goings may have been less and so was the money coming back in then it only took one person in the house to go to work and things ticked over even if it wasn't easy these days it usually takes both adults/parents to work and still they struggle, and forget about bying a house even if you both work, a better system could be as easy as a fairer distrubution of the wealth, but those who control the wealth are greedy why do you think apple has it's products made in asian countries? for bigger profit margins? i'm not against a company that makes profits of course not they've worked for it haven't they? but couldn't they just make less profit and give thier workers a better quality of life? i'm not condeming a monetary system i just think that maybe it's not handled very well?

      and finally.... :-) Wage slavery might sound like an oxymoron, no one forces me to go to work every day do they? and i do get paid for what i do, well they told what they would pay me but it was that or walk out the door, they didn't mention they would freeze my pay for the last few years, introduce a freeze on promotions, change my contract of employment they offered oh and then effectivley cut my pay by increasing the retirement age and increasing my pension contributions.
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        Apr 16 2012: i don't think that there is an obvious problem with the way wealth is shared. i have problems with the word "shared". wealth is created by work. the fruits of my labor is mine. and i can give it away for any price. nobody else has any claim on the fruit of my work, unless i have a contract which binds me to give it to someone. but that contract should be previously agreed upon. if we follow these rules, and i end up having zillions of dollars, it is rightfully mine. even if another fella have one dollar. i might give some as i feel so, but i don't have to. this should be our moral "litmus paper".

        i agree that lately we have all sort of problems with wealth distribution. but is the process itself that got an unfortunate turn. we are seeing, for a good 100 years, companies that are more equal than others, as recognized by the government. we see excessive taxing, and mind boggling waste of resources (MIC). we see trade barriers and other red tape that chokes business. we see disastrous interventions into the economy. but i wonder if you share these views with me.

        your choices are of course not limited to either work for "them" or walk. you can choose from a great variety of employers, or can be self employed or an entrepreneur yourself. and if nobody offers you a better job, it might have a reason. your work might actually worth the sum you get. maybe that is what 8*5 hours of work grants you in the current state of the economy. don't you think it is possible? how it is possible then, that in nepal, people work harder, but earn much less?
    • Apr 16 2012: Told you I waffle!!!
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      Apr 17 2012: Krisztian, you asked me- "tell me if you can. suppose you have ten million dollars. i have an idea. how would you stop me?". But there is no "reply" button in the post. SO using this one to answer you.

      Let me try to reply you. You urself will get the answer if you ask the questions I raised in my post (that u replied).
      How can I know what you are claiming is true? That is more relevant for more complicated, high-tech field that require some basic scientific/technological (not mere technical) understanding. There are many instances of that happening these days, than ever before. Check this-
      "Drugmakers’ Fever for the Power of RNA Interference Has Cooled", in The New York Times (2011)- http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/08/science/08rna.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all

      Almost every "scientist" these days hype about their "discovery". Many capitalists/businessmen trust them and invest on those "ideas". Few years pass (typically 5-10 in USA). (Mostly) Nothing comes out. In the mean time the "scientist" get few more years of "experience" , got few more "ideas" and find another new employer. The cycle goes on for few more times. S/he retires as an "expert"- then enjoy comfortable retirement life or open a consultancy or become a board member of the company (if proved having required quality as fellow capitalist) who hardly can tolerate any new, younger scientist who dare to oppose his (previous) "scientific ideas", which definitely was terrific but failed due to so many other "reasons"!

      I am not sure if I am clear or not...
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        Apr 17 2012: not at all. my question was clear. this answer is not. how do you stop me? i have an idea, i walk around to find investors, my plan is to found a company and start produce something. what do you do? you have ten million. be specific.
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          Apr 17 2012: Let me try again. I have a friend, who have brilliant ideas, at least I think so. He resigned from his academic (faculty) position to develop on his ideas and start a new company in US. he tried a lot to get fund- could not succeed. Now he is trying to sell his ideas to established companies to get a suitable job. So far unsuccessful. There is a very high chance that he will remain unsuccessful- as he does not have proper "network" and/or expressed his technical & scientific opinions against some of the powerful members in his line of work.
          I can not say more on the issue, now. But you can have some ideas from my earlier posts.
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        Apr 17 2012: okay. you said that money kills development. now you say that a rich man kills development by NOT GIVING money.

        see the difference? you condemn a man for not giving his own money to your friend. and you consider this action "killing". you really don't see the difference?
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          Apr 17 2012: I am not sure where is the difference! My friend does not have money, but have ideas. the person who has money is not giving him (my friend) money to make my friend's idea a reality. The person who has money either are not convinced about my friend's idea or having some other motive (more likely in my friend's case, at least with few potential investors).
          BTW, money does not create innovation, per se. It merely helps, provided spent wisely.
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        Apr 17 2012: let us just quickly rehash this, because i can't believe my eyes

        you don't see the difference between the following to statements

        1. some rich people uses their money to kill an idea

        2. some rich people refuses to give their money to certain ideas

        this is the same for you.
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          Apr 17 2012: Your first statement: 1. some rich people uses their money to kill an idea- partially right. Some people do use thier money to kill an idea, if killing an idea makes THEM more money. Then the same statement is wrong when it implies- The rich investor does not know that they are killing the idea. They have no idea what "idea" will make money for them.

          Your 2nd statement: 2. some rich people refuses to give their money to certain ideas- Right. They do not know that they are killing the idea, neither they care if that "idea" does not guarantee return of their money (with certain profit) in short or near short term (generally within 10 yrs). Most of the time it is because they have no idea what "idea" will make money for them!
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        Apr 17 2012: you had to show that these are the same, not whether they are right or not. do you understand the word "different" and "same"? do you see how the two cases differ? or do you think they are the same?
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          Apr 17 2012: It seems that there is serious difference between you and me in understanding English language! I can not help you much with that issue.
          BTW, I also got the impression that we two have totally different view & experience of scientific/tech world, while I am not sure about your & my experience as an "investor". I may be wrong. Moreover, my English probably is not the same as yours to communicate my thoughts to you! Anyway cheers.......

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