When you type a website address into a browser, you might have noticed that the letters “http” appear at the front. “HTTP” stands for Hypertext Transfer Protocol. In typing a Web address, you are actually sending an HTTP command to transmit that website to you. Hypertext Transfer Protocol is the means by which information is […]
Picture the scene. It’s 2020. You’re at the checkout in a convenience store with a carton of milk. But you’ve got no cash and you’ve left your cards at home. No problem. You scan your right index finger; the green light flashes. Purchase approved and you leave. Easy.Is this a realistic vision of the future, […]
After a week of reckoning about the American oil and gas boom… I’ve got to get something off my chest.I can’t stand it when a coworker takes credit for something I did.Whether it’s a special report I wrote or just a little investing trick I found on my own — if someone takes it and […]
Franklin Delano Roosevelt famously used the term “forgotten man” in a 1932 speech to describe those at the bottom of the economic pyramid who, he felt, government should aid.But the originator of the phrase “forgotten man” had a whole different meaning in mind. He aimed to expose the seeming good intentions of government to reveal […]
I want to share some insight and give you a front-row seat to America’s next big shale play.Let’s get to it…Over the past 10 years, the U.S. has turned the ship around, quite literally.We’ve gone from a country that was expecting to import massive amounts of oil and gas — to a country that’s sitting […]
Whatever your views on the role of government, one thing is clear: There will be no way to pay for it if the economy doesn’t grow. And I’m not talking by a measly percentage point or two. If we can’t find our way back to 5% annual economic growth or above soon, America’s accumulated federal […]
What if I told you that the march of human progress could be traced in a direct line from the Epicureans of Ancient Greece… through the 18th Century’s cure for smallpox… to where Steve Jobs and Bill Gates found inspiration as scrappy teenagers… to the flying car of tomorrow?Stay with me and I’ll show you […]
Real progress happens through real people, ideas, and innovations. Not by legislation argued and debated in Congress. Right now, one of the most influential technologies is changing the way people do business. And reinventing the future in the process.
Innovation can change the world… if the world lets it. Unfortunately, society’s gatekeepers make it a point to constrain, regulate, and control these ideas. But their power is limited, and the power of innovation is too great. Unfortunately for regulators, there are some technologies they can’t control.
What’s the #1 reason a start-up fails?It runs out of money!And why would it run out of money?Because nobody wants the product it’s selling!For early-stage investors, this presents a bit of a conundrum:If a product doesn’t exist yet, how do you figure out if there’s demand for it?And how do you figure it out before […]
A cushy job in Hawaii that pays six figures. A beautiful girlfriend/boyfriend. Job security and professional experience that gives you plenty of future opportunities. Would you throw that all away to do what you think is right? Last year, one government contractor did just that. And now you see the world the government tried to hide from you.
Every time Bitcoin crashes, it winds up at a price greater than it’s previous high. Yet the experts still call it a currency fad that will fade away. But a little over a year since it really took up, the digital currency is still going strong, and is once again seeing its price rise. But is there another reason why people are buying Bitcoins.
According to some estimates, one man - whose name you're probably not familiar with - has saved over a billion lives. Who is he? And how has he influenced the current crop of innovators? Josh Grasmick explains...
Edward Snowden’s one year visa in Russia expires at the end of next month. With only a few weeks left before he finds himself without a safe country to live in, he sat down to give an exclusive interview. Here are the most important things he wants you to remember from his recent sacrifice.
Biotech breakthroughs and other transformative innovations are a few of the brightly shining spots in the U.S. economy. In fact, Paul Mampilly believes this is the golden age of biotech investing, and that you can earn massive returns while investing in companies with drugs that benefit all of humanity. Read on for his latest example...
Harold Hamm isn’t your typical entrepreneur. His life’s story shows you success in America doesn’t always depend on a fat checkbook
Obama recently claimed this was the “Decade of the Brain”. But it not the first time the government made that promise. The last time they did it, they wasted millions of your tax dollars. Now they’re back for round two. But this time, their failure could mean more than squandered money. It could mean making Alzheimer’s even worse for those who suffer from it.
Does owning a gun mean you’re guilty until proven innocent? Considering what happened to one man from Florida, that might be the case. But there’s more to this story than just a case of police overreach. Police departments across the nation could be implementing a new technology that puts the burden of innocence squarely on your shoulders.
American ingenuity. It’s the stuff of lore and legend, and it’s what drives the global economy. We literally bank on the next disruptive entrepreneur — and innovative new technology — to completely redefine or create new industries. It’s what America does really well, our goose that continues to lay golden eggs.And yet, maybe not.The truth […]
When Michael Lewis’ new book Flash Boys came out, the author caused a stir while making the media rounds to promote it. “The stock market is rigged,” he told 60 Minutes flatly. His comments set off a firestorm of debate as to whether sharp techies and their fast computers are screwing small investors.As titillating as […]
Last November, when the Environment Protection Agency (EPA) proposed moderating years of escalating mandates by reducing the amount of ethanol that must be mixed into gasoline, a top ethanol lobbyist seemed perplexed. “We’re all just sort of scratching our heads here today and wondering why this administration is telling us to burn less of a […]
Why Is U.S. Health Care So Much More Expensive?After years of research and many conversations with health policy experts, I see three key culprits of expensive health care in the U.S.In no particular order, they are the third-party payer system (i.e., employer-provided health care), malpractice suits, and administrative support costs/paperwork.The unintended consequence of institutionalized employer-provided […]
At the recently concluded Winter Olympics in Sochi, Russian security officials used state of the art facial recognition software to identify potential terrorists. Today, Byron King takes a closer look at this sophisticated new technology and what it means for the future of national security. Read on...
Back in the 1980s, John Nestor became infamous for single-handedly causing massive traffic jams on the Capital Beltway. But in his professional life, he created a completely different kind of traffic jam... one that may have contributed to the deaths of thousands of innocent people. Juan Enriquez has the full story. Read on...
Entrepreneurs innovate. Bureaucrats regulate. It’s the eternal struggle that exists in our modern economy/government. The people in power try to make the playing field as even and fair as possible. While innovators buck the rules and push the world toward a better tomorrow.
Technological progress moves the world forward. It finds ways to do things better, for less money, while using fewer resources. And if you ask any politician, they’ll tell you that’s the way to grow the economy and get America back on track. But if that progress threatens one of the government’s sacred programs, then that’s a different story. One that results in a crackdown on progress, and protection of the status quo.
No one loves democracy more than the politicians in power because of it. But just because you get to vote every year or so doesn’t mean the system works. In fact, the system could be responsible for its fair share of problems. But democracy’s become sacred in the U.S. And no one bothers to question it.
I’m looking out the airplane window, marveling that the clouds are below me. My computer is out and I’m surfing online. As usual, I inhale a big intake of air, still dazzled that this is possible.
A notification pops up that there is a meeting taking place in Austin, Texas, a digital Meetup sponsored by the Mises Circle as run by a student name Michael Goldstein. I’m invited to join.
Surely, their bandwidth won’t support my joining. But I figure I will try it anyway. Suddenly, I find myself on camera along with many others, and looking not only at others who have entered the digital space, but also at a group of students in a room where the meeting itself is taking place.
So I do a double take, glancing at my screen and out the window again, and I almost have to pinch myself. I’m flying above the clouds, yet I’m also on the ground in Texas. In technological parlance, the whole thing is made possible by “cloud computing,” but it is also literally true.
When exactly did this kind of thing become possible? There was no headline in The New York Times. There was no grand announcement. I’m not even sure myself when this became possible. Google Hangouts are about 18 months in existence, but the technology keeps improving bit by bit. It seems almost like it all happened in the blink of an eye.
Remember how people warned us about how digits would destroy personal contact? How we would all get sucked into the Web vortex of fake friendship and digital relationships and lose the ability to engage each other face to face?
As far as I can tell, experience is showing the opposite. The digital world is making possible new forms of robust physical networks too, people meeting face to face in social settings that did not and could not have existed even five years ago. And these physical meetings are integrating with digital ones.
And maybe that’s the great benefit of the digital turn. Digits link real-life human beings in ways that had never been possible in previous ages. This allows the formation of human communities to serve a crucial social and political function: They serve as a buffer between the individual and the state. Such networks are essential for the building of human liberty.
Today, there are thousands of gatherings of people from all walks of life that would not otherwise exist. There is a simple reason. Now we can form them and get the word out, and others can find out about them. These enthusiast groups cover crafts, running, surfing, painting, music, technology, philosophy, religion, investment, and every other conceivable thing.
For example, I just returned from an exciting speaking tour of sorts in southeast Texas. Gatherings of this sort — huge cross sections of people from many walks of life — would have been so much more difficult in the pre-digital era. Why? Well, in the past, the organizers might not have known there was a demand, they might not have had the resources to promote, and people wouldn’t have thereby known they should even attend at all.
But with the digital world of Web communities and social media, it all came together quite beautifully. There was a traditional meet and greet in a restaurant one night with a standing-room-only crowd where your editor gave a talk on new strategies for reclaiming our right to be free. This was sponsored by Liberty on the Rocks, an expanding network of meetings all over the country for libertarians.
At the main event, held at Stephen F. Austin State University, in Nacogdoches, Texas, Young Americans for Liberty and the Charles Koch Foundation sponsored a conference on libertarian ideas, as well an event with a more formal and academic approach (but still fun!).
Stefan Molyneux gave a paper on how politics compromise ethics. Jessica Hughes eviscerated the idea that the Constitution is a source for freedom and human rights. Stephan Kinsella presented an illuminating case against John Locke’s idea that we own the products of our labor. Your editor presented a tutorial for living outside the state.
The place was packed, with people coming from long distances to be there. We even had one digital speaker. Walter Block appeared on Skype on the big screen and answered a number of audience questions on banking, labor, the environment, and other matters.
Stefan Molyneux, Stephan Kinsella, yours truly,
and other “meet and greeters,” at Liberty in the Pines, Feb. 23, 2013.
It was a fun, educational, and exciting experience. We all take this for granted, but again, trying to put this kind of meeting together 20 years ago would have been nearly impossible. Today, it is commonplace. In fact, even this very evening, I’m speaking at a student gathering that was easily formed and promoted through Facebook and Twitter, whereas it would have required plastering posters all over campus in the past.
I first began to sense this some years ago when a friend of mine moved to Shanghai. Had this happened 20 years ago, this young American would have been lost and isolated for years, maybe forever. But he and his wife notified their network in advance and arrived with a social structure already in place. They moved into a foreign country with an unfamiliar culture where the language is forbidding and still felt right at home.
This type of thing is happening all over the world and probably in your hometown. It began a few years ago with the institution of the Meetup. But over time, many different venues have served the same purpose. Facebook and Google started allowing events to be created, shared, and promoted. And the lines between digital and physical are blurring so that Google Hangouts and Skype meetings of groups commonly extend and entrench the relationships formed in physical spaces.
As a result, all kinds of intellectual societies are becoming ever smarter and more sophisticated. This is particularly true in libertarian circles. Students today are able to read and borrow from thinkers from all ages. Barriers between factions have broken down. The learning never stops, extending from digits to real life and back again. This has put new pressure on me as a speaker, but in a good way: If I ever repeat myself, someone will take note!
Coming up in Las Vegas, July 10-13, 2013, is the largest gathering of the year. The event is FreedomFest, and there could be as many as 3,000 people there. Laissez Faire Books is sponsoring an entire day of talks and panels. We’ll have a large book table of all the speakers’ books. The event keeps growing year after year because it gets better and more people are hearing about it.
Technology has heightened the value of the event, and the event has heightened the value of the technology. They work together. The result is the formation of a new community of people who find new forms of strength, intellectual confidence, and human camaraderie in discovering that we are not alone, but are part of something much larger than ourselves. We are part of a generation radically rethinking the way the world works and the role of politics in society.