Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘No Flying Cars, But the Future Is Bright

Full piece here.

Postrel mentions Peter Thiel:

‘In speeches, interviews and articles, Thiel decries what he sees as the country’s lack of significant innovations. “When tracked against the admittedly lofty hopes of the 1950s and 1960s, technological progress has fallen short in many domains,” he wrote last year in National Review. “Consider the most literal instance of non­acceleration: We are no longer moving faster.”

She counters with the idea that while not predicted, we take our innovations for granted:

‘Technologists who lament the “end of the future” are denigrating the decentralized, incremental advances that actually improve everyday life. And they’re promoting a truncated idea of past innovation: economic history with railroads but no department stores, radio but no ready-to-wear apparel, vaccines but no consumer packaged goods, jets but no plastics.’

Splashy innovations may not be necessary, Postrel argues, and could hinder the real progress being made, and that there are many people, for various reasons, who will put up barriers to that progress (there could be some danger in utopianism there, that has political implications as well).

Comments are worth a read.

Addition: Shouldn’t we still aim high?

Related On This Site:Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘How The Elites Built America’s Economic Wall’Virginia Postrel At Bloomberg: ‘Want To Be The Next Apple? Lose The Bafflegab’

From The American Interest: Francis Fukuyama Interviews Peter Thiel-’A Conversation With Peter Thiel’A Few Thoughts On Foreign Policy-Adam Garfinkle At The American Interest: ‘Conservative Principles Of World Order’

It might be worth mentioning the importance that science and technology have had on our culture through science fiction, too, and how sci-fi writers have handled its relation to political philosophy, from Robert Heinlein to Jerry Pournelle to Paul Krugman via Isaac Asimov, to manifest destiny to colonizing the West etc: Paul Krugman At The Guardian: ‘Asimov’s Foundation Novels Grounded My Economics’

Check out Pournelle’s Iron Law Of Bureaucracy and his chart of political organization.