TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

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.


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • 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.
    • thumb
      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.

        • thumb
          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.

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.