The American Technological Challenge

The American Technological Challenge

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The American Technological Challenge - Stagnation and Decline in the 21st Centuryrefutes the myth that we live in the most innovative of times. Inventions themselves are only one of the factors that determine the technological fate of a society. Sometimes, inventions are adopted, and eagerly; sometimes not. The history of technological progress, and the historical and societal factors that impel or restrain the adoption of inventions, are explored in the book. New, life-changing inventions have become rare and in spite of ample vocal support of innovation, an increasingly complacent society has lost its taste for risk and often actively resists change. Far from being unique, technology slowdowns are recurrent events in history, occurring in civilizations that have reached the zenith of their success. They are the inevitable fate of an increasingly regulated, successful society. Most people would characterize the dawn of the 21st century as the age of technological progress par excellence. If you are one of them, then, think again. While our parents, grandparents and great-grandparents witnessed life-changing inventions every decade, very little major new technology has seen the light of day over the last half century. We find ourselves in the midst of a technology slowdown! This book is about the causes and consequences of technology slowdowns, which are not unique but recurrent events in human history. They occur not in times of upheaval, when violent interstate conflicts are the order of the day. Such periods foster innovation and allow major, breakthrough inventions to be adopted quickly. Instead, innovation seriously stalls in times that are peaceful, when governments reign supreme and citizens are encapsulated by layers of benign regulation to protect them against all possible harm. We find ourselves in the best of times. The long period of bloody combat that characterized so much of the 20th century has finally ended. Violent conflicts between states are minimal and conditions for almost everyone on the planet are on an upswing, with poverty on the decline and life expectancy and literacy increasing. Responsible government and industry leaders have begun to refrain from risky bets on exciting new exploits and the time of grand projects, such as the Eisenhower Interstate System, the Moon Landing Program or the development of the internet is behind us. Instead, we have to make do with incremental improvements of existing technology, catch-up programs in developing countries and social programs. The consequences are stalling wealth generation and an end to the dramatic changes society has undergone since the industrial revolution now more than 200 years ago.... valves can now be implanted through cathe- ters rather than by traditional open-heart surgery, and with the first electric cars on ... But on the other hand, it should be obvious to those who approach re- tirement age that the world is no longer changing as fast as it used to do. ... the general introduction of instant biometric identification and we have never seen the smart cars and highways that should byanbsp;...

Title:The American Technological Challenge
Author:Jan Vijg
Publisher:Algora Publishing - 2011-01-01


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