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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 18 2012: Capitalism is a particularly poor way of distributing technological resources to the benefit of mankind. I'm an engineer. I spent many years scratching a living working on low emission vehicles and marine renewable energy projects,and begging for funding, The externalisation of environmental damage in capitalist accounting makes these projects monumentally difficult to fund. You spend 100 hours seeking money for 1 hour doing engineering.
    I now work for a motor racing team, where money is thrown at me. Not sure these societal priorities are the right way round.
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      Apr 18 2012: depends on how do you define benefit. you just described that capitalism is very good at delivering motor races. it is because people love them. capitalism is not at good allocating money on clean energy. it is because people don't pay a dime more for clean energy.

      it seems that capitalism is very efficient in serving people's needs. it is just not good enough to make your more noble dreams real.

      but do we want capitalism to make your noble goals true?
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        Apr 19 2012: Understanding the difference between what we want and what we need is all part of growing up.
  • Apr 17 2012: I agree Capitalism did in the start promote innovation, as technology is one of the reasons captitalism is profitable, and i don't disagree that if you have 10 million $$$ you should be obliged to hand it to someone who says they have an idea but i'm sure starting off with 10 million you'd be pretty eager but what would you be like if you turn that 10 million into a billion $$ industry it seems the attention switches from being eager to fear, fear you'll lose your money, your empire and then the capitalists start pouring their money into preventing those who could challenge thier dominance.

    Look at the legal action about start in the US Oracle versus Google, everybody is suing everyone trying to protect what they beleive is thiers and thiers alone, apple is also looking to pick a fight with android, microsoft has also spent hundreds of millions suing samsung over intellectual property rights.

    There are more of these cases, they've turned into gollem protecting the precious ring.

    But the worst thing is that all of this action is anti innovative, even some guys who don't make anything but buy patents known as patent trolls have been getting in on all this anti competetive practice mostly targeting individuals who try to innovate.

    I think all this should be stoppped people don't buy something because it creates folders in a certain way they choose it for many reasons, like price, features and looks. If you can't make a product that people will buy then that's just competition and if it worked like that manufacturers would be more innovative and competetive, and so caould individuals who try to create innovative additions to our technologies.
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      Apr 17 2012: I totally agree with you.
      Many do believe that patent, particularly patent of living organism and genes (which is not any novel "discovery" per se, but mere finding out the sequence of an existing genome) hampered growth of science/biology.

      Many big companies now make good money by killing smaller companies by suing them in some pretext or other over IP issues. On the other hand many companies just buy patents which has a higher probability for others to break, and hold onto it (holding company). IN last few years, such activity is very lucrative. The tendency is increasing as innovation/invention is slowing down (mainly due to dysfunction education & research systems to make "scientist") and percolation of technology has increased due to higher mobility of experts/people and better communication technology.
      As per published articles, a good number of influential and big companies are blocking meaningful reform of patent and IP laws in US and Europe.
      And as the greed or the urge to "grow" increases, so does IP related litigation among big fishes. It is almost impossible to develop a new car without infringing patents held by so many companies for wheel, tire, window, paint and so on... if not collaborated or agreed upon by the holding company. If the new car venture is perceived as potential threat, any of these companies can shoot down your whole project. That is not impossible but becoming even harder for smaller entrepreneurs and individual inventors.

      Check this article- "Are there now so many patents in Silicon Valley that it's impossible to innovate?"-

      There are only 20,000 to 25,000 genes in a typical higher organism- e.g in human. Number of Cancer researcher in US alone probably will be more than that. After sometime it will be almost impossible to even start working with any gene!!!
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      Apr 17 2012: "Look at the legal action about start in the US Oracle versus Google, everybody is suing everyone trying to protect what they beleive is thiers and thiers alone, apple is also looking to pick a fight with android, microsoft has also spent hundreds of millions suing samsung over intellectual property rights."

      this is a great argument against intellectual property rights. btw that was my point from the beginning. you can not stop your competition with money. in a pure free market economy, if your competitor plans something, your only option is to come up with something better. in a free market economy, there is no intellectual property. intellectual property is a state intervention.

      so we have a large coercive organization, namely the state, that arbitrarily shuts down certain operations, taxes others, and hands out money to yet others. surely, companies try to influence the government in their favor. they try to buy the state's services. but the real problem is not that. the real problem is that the state does such things in the first place.
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        Apr 17 2012: "you can not stop your competition with money. in a pure free market economy".

        They already killed many smaller companies. Only the matching few are remaining and they are more aggressive to protect their territories.
        It is proven fact that consolidation of corporation or business reduces both competition and innovation. Consolidation of companies are at the pick in recent times- more so after 2008 financial melt down.
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          Apr 17 2012: no kidding. only the able remaining? that is the goal! if you can deliver, you grow. if you don't, you shrink. eliminating the wasteful, the inefficient, the obsolete is exactly what we want.

          but since when we call something wasteful, inefficient or obsolete and "idea"? for me, idea is something that is better than the current.
      • Apr 17 2012: For me the worst thing besides the way the state is so easily bought, is the fact it's quite obvious these big companies have too much money, when the best way they can come up with to use those resources is to spent rediculous amounts of money suing each other.

        The best for me was when microsoft settled with Samsung who agreed to pay MS a licence fee for each android phone they make and the next thing MS and Samsung where signing a deal for Samsung to make MS phones!!??

        It's obviously just a power game to them and it hurts them none, but when you consider those dying of starvation, those who struggle with constant poverty, i'm really surprised the capitalists haven't considered developing poor countries as potential markets for their products, because the bigger the market the bigger the production industry would be this in turn could generate industry in poorer countries, and larger markets for the likes of MS, Samsung, Apple and many other global companies.

        Already nations are sending officials to the likes of China and Indonesia because they have managed to clamber up the ladder but no one ever really bother to try pull them up the ladder and maybe it wasn't the wests job to pull these countries up but it would have been a lot quicker. Now the likes of Apple, MS and google and many other global giants are probably slobbering at the opportunity to have a billion or more new potential customers?
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          Apr 17 2012: "suing" is also a way to ask to the state to act on your behalf. if have a stupid system of law, and a stupid court, of course companies will sue each other. it is not their fault. it is the fault of the stupid legislation.
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        Apr 17 2012: I am now really curious to visit Hungary, where you live!
  • Apr 18 2012: I'm aware that we made a small financial contribution to the ITER project, but we are by no means the largest contributor. As for the national Ignition facility, while the research they do is important, it is not even close to viable power production. I can't fault the US for it's contributions to research, we have been fairly diligent about funding that kind of work. However, when it comes to the actual development and practical implantation technologies based on that research, that threaten the Hydro Carbon Industry, the story seems to change. Even our development and implementation of wind and solar technology seems to be moving at an almost begrudgingly slow pace. Please forgive my passion on this matter, but ever since I was a child I have followed the development of fusion technology. We should be further ahead than we are. I know we are making progress, but I can't help thinking that it's just not good enough.
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      Apr 18 2012: nor the ITER is anywhere near real life applications, and won't be within 30 years. but many thinks it never will, because the concept just does not work. if you ask me, tokamak is more elegant, but i'm inclined to say that the implosion method will be fruitful much sooner. however, neither of them seems to be of any benefit over 4th generation nuclear anytime soon.

      however, the question was investment in R&D. and i claim that even the US state invests more than socialist governments. and it is without the private sector. and the private sector is what really counts.
      • Apr 18 2012: It is my understanding that the ITER project is projected to offer a 10:1 power return. Still not great, but better than the energy deficit that the previous version have posted. The ITER is projected to posses an output of approximately 500 MW.

        It's not our level of investment in Research I am questioning, it's our commitment to the further development of the results of that research when it threatens entrenched economic interests. I agree with you that the private sector is the key here, but I simply feel that sometimes we have to light a fire under their backsides to get them moving in the right direction.

        As someone else mentioned in this discussion previously, If they can afford all of this litigation, (and all of these political contributions and media campaigns), then perhaps they need to being paying a higher tax rate. Of course if they would do their jobs, and stop meddling in the sovereign affairs nations (our own included), then perhaps in the absence of all of the rather expensive turmoil that goes with their political machinations, we might find the need for a higher tax rate is no longer there. I for one don't really care that these people have a lot of money. I just don't care for their meddling, and so I feel we should remove their capacity to do so.

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          Apr 18 2012: hope the structural materials survive long enough, and the plasma is maintainable for months.

          what we need is less taxes. give money to the state, and you have projects like the ITER or the space shuttle. billions wasted, and we don't see any results. there is no progress.
  • Apr 17 2012: I dont think the blame can be laid squarely at the feet of capitalism and globalisation. Greed on the other hand, I think you have a point there, especially if you couple greed with political lobbying. If you look at the rising price of fossil fuels, especially oil, then one can see how the fossil fuel producers would end up with a very large pocket to buy political influence, and thats not counting those politicians that actually sit on the board of those very same industries.

    Freemarket economics and de-regulation have very many benefits, but if you push the pendulum too far in that direction you end up with the corporatism system, financial institutions dictating austerity measures to nationally elected representatives and the mega-wealthy hdidng their assets away from taxation in tax/secrecy havens.

    Likewise socialism and market regulation have very many benefits as well, but if you push the pendulum too far in that direction you end up with state communism, unprofitable collectives and the whole Stalinist/Maoist nightmare scenarios that come along with it.

    The economy is a dynamic entity and therefore IMO you should use what works for the time being but not be afraid to swing the pendulum the other way when required. I think people have far, far too much ideological attachment to particular economic models. To paraphrase - 'Was humanity made for the economy or the economy made for humanity?'

    Of course the issue is complicated in that we have a mix of models going on globally - rampant risky free market financial institutions coupled with excessive regulation on patent/copyright and freedom of exit and entrance to the marketplace. At least that is my take on the current situation...

    Thoughts, critisism, objections welcome :)
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    Apr 17 2012: There seem to be a basic "conflict of interest" between industrialists & policy makers or Government.
    Check this article of mine- "Steady-state economy and de-growth models of development"-

    Globalization was initiated with a goal to minimize gaps between rich and poor, between developing and developed countries. But after more than 30 years, it seems that it increased the gap further. The only gap it bridged is among the rich of different countries and also among the poor of different countries. The difference between the rich people in countries like India and US/EU has narrowed significantly. The condition of Indian poor remained the same (if not worse) while the condition of poor in first world countries deteriorated.
    The gap between rich and poor in India and many other, in fact majority, countries increased significantly in recent times due to globalization.
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    Apr 17 2012: Many do not understand that "controlled" capitalism (as practiced in many countries like China & India) or even communism is no less productive to innovation and invention. As per a National Geographic documentary- USSR (former Russia) was well ahead of USA in space technology (and space race) under its very strict communist rule!

    PS: Pls do not interpret my statement as my support to communism!
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    Apr 17 2012: @ Dustin McKnight--- so you feel capitalism, globalist philosophy, and greed have stunted our technological growth? Also, there is tradition in physics concerning property rights. . . it states that two objects cannot occupy the same space simultaneously.
    • Apr 18 2012: No, I do not feel capitalism has itself stunted innovation, I simply feel that innovation can not exist when in an environment that is hostile to the change of the status quot. At times capitalism has driven the advance of technology in way in which we are still decades later coming to terms with. But it's a selective growth, in which nothing prospers that could be a threat to the major economic interests of the moment. I agree in principal with the philosophy of capitalism, I just feel that in order to keep it healthy, we have to prune away the dead and withered branches from time to time. I am no threat to capitalism. Halliburton and Monsanto are the real threats to both capitalism and our continued pace of technological innovation. I simply feel it is time to once more put these and similar organizations back in their places or dismantle them if necessary. The Survival and continued well being and advancement of humanity are just more important than a quarterly gain in profits. It's not capitalism that's to blame, it's shortsighted foolishness.

      As for the second matter, While i will concede that this law deals with the potential and actualized state of an object in its relation to other objects, it certainly has nothing to do with said objects legal dispensation or status of ownership. I doubt very seriously if nature itself has an opinion on this matter, as it is a purely human institution based on a game of make believe, that we utilize to keep order amongst ourselves because we are to primitive to deal directly with one another without it.

      Thank you
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        Apr 18 2012: We agree Mr. McKnight that shortsighted foolishness will stunt the growth of just about anything, Re: matter #2, what if the two 'objects" are Europen immigrants and residing Indian nations in 18th-19th century North America? Probably another topic? Thanks for your thoughts.
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    Apr 16 2012: It is high time for us to ponder why many, in fact majority, of emerging economies are among the worst of the in terms of poverty, income inequality and social discrimination since globalization (i.e. since 1991- in case of India). Only handful of countries like Indonesia, Argentina effectively reduced social and income inequalities significantly in recent times due to globalization.
    Wealth consolidation is worst in recent times in most of the developed countries, including USA, and UK.

    Check this interesting, recent publication (on December 2011) by Directorate for Employment, Labour and Social Affairs, OECD- "Divided We Stand: Why Inequality Keeps Rising ". -,3746,en_2649_33933_49147827_1_1_1_1,00.html

    In the three decades prior to the recent economic downturn, wage gaps widened and household income inequality increased in a large majority of OECD countries. This occurred even when countries were going through a period of sustained economic and employment growth. This report analyses the major underlying forces behind these developments. :
    An Overview of Growing Income Inequalities in OECD Countries
    - Special Focus: Inequality in Emerging Economies (free .pdf)
    - Part I. How Globalisation, Technological Change and Policies Affect Wage and Earnings Inequalities
    - Part II. How Inequalities in Labour Earnings Lead to Inequalities in Household Disposable Income
    - Part III. How the Roles of Tax and Transfer Systems Have Changed
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  • MR T

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    Apr 16 2012: Have you been watching those zeitgeist movies?
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    Apr 14 2012: Yes, it is.
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      Apr 16 2012: What color is the sky in your world?
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        Apr 16 2012: Depends on what color of glass you are wearing (to see the sky in "my world") and what color give you the maximum benefit!
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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)-

      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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    Apr 13 2012: Capitalism used to stimulate technology, but not anymore, as observed in many cases. In recent times, capitalism is killing innovative ideas if not coming out from it- the ruling capitalist.
    The progress of science and technology is severely affected in recent times. Of course it has many reasons, but rise of "crony capitalism" is one of the major factors.
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      Apr 17 2012: If there is a profit to be made Capitalists will make every effort to realize it. If a technology dies it is because it has been abandoned by Capitalists who will only abandon something if it does not generate a profit. Not all the funds for the LHC came from physicists. Capital comes from Capitailists. Capitalists LOVE innovation, they hunger for it, they nurture it. Don't confuse government funding with Capitalism. The government has been known to make unusual decisions regarding science and technology. Don't post that to Capitalism's account.
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        Apr 17 2012: Edward, you have a very valid point. Sometimes ago I thought about it for long (as I am part of that "scientific" community to develop technology).
        Then I realized that a good product may not see the light of the day, if that does not reach proper people or an excellent product will die an un-natural death if given to unworthy capitalist. Examples of the first one will be hard to find- as there will not be many such examples in public domain, as you can understand.
        The examples of the second category is more abundant. Consider this one. The small car Matiz by Daewoo (of South Korea). Matiz was "the best car in its category " for 4 consecutive years . Later the company, Daewoo, failed for many reasons but probably none for its quality of products. Later GM purchased the passenger car segment of Daewoo. They re-launched Matiz with the name of Aveo/Spark. But that car have never own critics appraisals or expert review beating cars from other companies like Honda, Toyota, Nissan etc.

        There are many such examples in biotechnology, mainly in pharma industry. Success of Apple or Microsoft is not necessarily due to its ability to invent or innovate, but other business practices as well.

        Although I support the spirit of your statement but do not agree with it per se - "Capitalists LOVE innovation". I will rather re-phrase it- "capitalists love to recruit competent people who can invent/innovate". Then the issue arises- how good the capitalist is to identify and groom such talented people who can innovate and invent. The production line of "scientists" are becoming increasingly dysfunctional since last few decades. And current parameters to judge scientific output is far from ideal. We can start a new thread if you like to discuss this issue in detail.

        Then comes the human factor. E.g- It is almost impossible for Apple iPhone to praise Samsung Galaxy, even if Galaxy is a better product. The same is true for many "successful" products & corporations.
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        Apr 17 2012: In short, if there is more money to make by killing a competitors product or idea, at least in the short term, then Capitalists will not hesitate to do just that. And they do it routinely.
        Then, the people who are able to innovate or invent generally do not do that for money, per se. The motivation for a capitalist and an innovator are totally different and there is huge a communication gap, if I may say so, between them.
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          Apr 17 2012: tell me if you can. suppose you have ten million dollars. i have an idea. how would you stop me?
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          Apr 17 2012: We agree that the predatory instincts of many Capitalists can be gruesome. That is the influence of the lower attributes of human behaviour like greed. I don't think Capitalism is without flaws, but I don't think it generally stunts innovation. Thanks.
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    Apr 11 2012: Our inability to cope with the technology we have stunts our technological growth. Most people don't know much about how many of the utilities they operate are built, function, and impact their daily lives. This is why innovators keep innovating and consumers keep consuming in their own respective camps. When consumers start to understand what goes into and comes out of what they consume, then they will realize the vested interest they have as stakeholders and will begin to innovate themselves, driving technological growth.
    • Apr 11 2012: Thanks Sean, i can see your point perhaps thats why we keep re-inventing the same technology look at mobile phones they've come a long way in the last ten years, and it's been largely driven by what consumers want, driving the innovations that go into our mobile phone technology, and in a sense that could be the reason other technologies have been stunted.

      Maybe it's just me who'd hoped for more by 2012? maybe i have been blaming the wrong group of people?
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        Apr 12 2012: If I really was looking for someone to blame, as far as industrial manufacturing, it would be the trifecta idiocy of patent violators, reverse engineers, and catering to consumers who place more emphasis on the 'wow' than the 'how'. But blaming them doesn't help anything.

        As a note:
        Capitalism, globalization, and greed could be considered impetus for my blamed: Patent Violation (Globalization/Capitalism), Reverse Engineering (Globalization/Greed), and Marketing to Impulse/The Illusion of Option (Capitalism/Greed). But you could argue that capitalism, globalization, and especially greed have been the motivators for innovation, as well.
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    Apr 10 2012: No. No, and No.
    • Apr 11 2012: Hi Edward, by your response you feel that i am either completely wrong or missing the point, i'm always happy to take on board the views of others and i would be grateful for your views.
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        Apr 12 2012: Capitalism stimulates technology better than any other economic system. "Globalization" is enabled by technology. Greed is organic in all human social structures and cannot be blamed for stunting global technological growth, if, in fact, it is stunted. By the way Darren, just because my opinion differs from yours does not mean you are wrong, or that you are missing the point. Thanks for the conversation. Best wishes.
        • Apr 16 2012: If this is true, then why is it, that the 'Socialist' European countries are trying to build a viable fusion reactor (with a $13 Billion price tag) while the "capitalist" American Sociopolitical economic system is still so tied to Hydro carbons, that you would be hard pressed to find a federal election candidate that hasn't received campaign contributions from an oil, coal or gas company? Why is it that the 'communist' Chinese with their tightly controlled economy & very stringent anti corruption laws, are moving forward with their manned space program, while we Americans are dismantling ours for at least the next ten to fifteen years? Capitalism at its finest drives innovation like nothing else ever could. But when all of that money & power becomes so entrenched within the system that it can effectively kill off entire competing industries through manipulation of tax incentives & permit fees, as well as the acquisition and leveraging of licensing rights and patents, before these enterprises ever have a chance to prove their potential usefulness, all in the name of profit, then capitalism is no longer an agent progress, but a dangerous obstruction threatening so much of what we might hope to achieve. There can be no true free market economy under such conditions, & a healthy capitalist system will in time, wither and die from stagnation, unless the situation is addressed. This isn't a hidden conspiracy, but an inevitable development of events, like the accumulation of dust of the blades of your ceiling fan. From time to time, one or more of our industries will get a little to big for it's britches, and will have to be put back in it's place (i.e. anti-trust regulations). I agree that greed is a constant, but one that must be countered when the good of the people is at stake (i.e. working conditions & environmental protection). One final thought; no capitalist system can exist without the consent of the people. There is no law of physics regarding property rights.
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          Apr 16 2012: dustin, you might heard about the national ignition facility. you might also aware of the fact that the european ITER project is partly funded by the US.