Science and Technology Are Awesome

jetpack

Technology rocks

I really like technology, and most other people do too. That’s not surprising because technology empowers us to do the things we want to do. Like fly around over the ocean. Or read a blog.

Quite literally, technology gives you freedom. Without technology you have to walk around naked everywhere. With technology, you can wear a jacket when the weather is cold or ride a train to get places.

Science is cool, too. It helps create new and better technology. Plus, it is fun to know how the universe works. Without science, the rate at which technology can improve is greatly diminished. So if you love freedom you should also be a supporter of science and technology. They free us from the constraints of nature and make life better in oh-so-many ways.

However, science and technology don’t solve problems on their own. If you go to a poor part of the world and give them a printer, there is not much they can do with it. Science and technology are dependent on a structure of capital to support their use and development.

This applies to wealthy parts of the world as well. Refrigerators are great, but if the power grid goes offline then they become expensive cabinets. Not to mention what happens to electron microscopes and other scientific equipment. So for those who love science and technology, it is important to advocate the economic policies that produce the capital to support both current technology and the creation of great new inventions. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as throwing money at research scientists or tech startups.

This is because the capital structure that is needed consists of millions of interconnected people, tools, machines, and companies. These evolved over time as the technology to support them was developed. As an analogy, you can’t build the top floor of a building first. You need to start with the bottom and work your way up. Similarly, you cannot invest directly in advanced technology. The best you can do is work on the next technology that is feasible with our current capital structure.

For example, 50 years ago people were aware of how to construct artificial intelligence, but they did not have computers powerful enough to develop effective AIs. After video games became popular AI researchers were able to use GPU technology to build the first generation of powerful learning machines. This is why investors look for an idea whose time has come.

Similarly, we know how to build something like a recreational facility in space. Unfortunately, our economy is not developed enough to support something like that. We will need to first spend time making people wealthier, and make spaceflight cheaper, before that kind of technology can be effectively implemented. But over time this will be something that people can do. How long it takes depends on the path we take to get there.

If, like me, you want science and technology to progress as rapidly as possible, then the best way to do that is to encourage the accumulation of capital. It may seem counter-intuitive that there is an economic solution to a technical problem, but we are looking at technology from a very abstract perspective. Economics is all about taking an abstract view of human activities.

Anyway, getting the right capital in place will allow the next generation of technologies to be realized. It just so happens that there is a system that does exactly that. It is called anarcho-capitalism. It is the best system for technological progress because it frees people to produce the most effective capital structure at any given time as well as optimizing the capital structure for increasing capital. The more capital we have, the more productive we are. And the more productive we are, the more progress we can make on improving science and technology. For those of us who want to enjoy greater and greater freedom, that is exactly what we want to do.

One thought on “Science and Technology Are Awesome

  1. Pingback: What is anarcho-capitalism? | Rothbard.com

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