Health care costs in the U.S. have been rising so steadily for so long that containment barely seems possible. Even optimists don’t dream of cutting the price tag. As its official name — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — suggests, Obamacare aims for affordability, not radical reduction.But at a time when we’re all […]
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.
This year, Facebook will reach 1 billion users — or one-seventh of the human population. It has elicited more participation than any single government in the world other than India and China, and it will probably surpass them in a year or two. And whereas many people are fleeing their governments as they are able, more and more people are joining Facebook voluntarily.
What is the logic, the driving force, the agent of change?
Yes, the software works fine, and yes, the managers and owners have entrepreneurial minds. But the real secret to Facebook is its internal human gears — the individual users — which turn out to mirror the way society itself forms and develops.
The best way to see and understand this is to compare the workings of Facebook with the workings of the democratic political process. Watching Facebook’s development has been fun, productive, fascinating, useful and progressive. The election season, in contrast, has been divisive, burdensome, wasteful, acrimonious and wholly confusing.
That’s because Facebook and democracy work on entirely different principles.
Facebook is based on the principle of free association. You join or decline to join. You can have one friend or thousands. It is up to you. You share the information you want to share and keep other things from public view. You use the platform only to your advantage while declining to use it for some other purpose.
The contribution you make on Facebook extends from the things you know best: yourself, your interests, your activities, your ideas. The principle of individualism — you are the best manager of your life — is the gear that moves the machine. Just as no two people are alike, no two people have the same experience with the platform. All things are customized according to your interests and desires.
But of course, you are interested in others too, so you ask for a connection. If they agree, you link up and form something mutually satisfying. You choose to include and exclude, gradually forming your own unique community based on any selection criteria you want. The networks grow and grow from these principles of individualism and choice. It is a constantly evolving, cooperative process — exactly the one that Hans-Hermann Hoppe describes as the basis of society itself.
Democratic elections seem to be about choice in some way, but it is a choice over who will rule the whole mob. It provides the same user experience for everyone, regardless of individual desire. You are forced into the system by virtue of having been born into it. Sure, you can choose to vote, but you can’t choose whether to be ruled by the voting results.
In this democratic system, you are automatically given 220 million “friends” whether you like it or not. These fake “friends” are given to you because of a geographic boundary drawn by government leaders long ago. These “friends” are posting on your wall constantly. Your news feed is relentless series of demands. You cannot delete their posts or mark them as spam. Revenue is not extracted from advertising but collected as you use the system.
Nothing is truly voluntary in an election. You are bound by the results regardless. This creates absurdities. This is incredibly apparent in the Republican nominating process. If people under 30 prevailed, Ron Paul would win. If religious families with several kids prevailed, Rick Santorum would win. If the Chamber of Commerce members prevailed, Mitt Romney would be victor. It all comes down to demographics but there can be only one winner under this system.
Therefore, an election must be a struggle between people, a fight, a wrangling around, a push to assert your will and overcome the interests and desires of others. In the end, we are assured that no matter the outcome, we should be happy because we all participated. The individual must give way to the collective.
We are told that this means that the system worked. But in what sense does it work? It only means that the well-organized minority prevailed over the diffused majority. This is about as peaceful as the kid’s game “king of the mountain.”
Facebook has nothing to do with this nonsense. Your communities are your own creation, an extension of your will and its harmony with the will of others. The communities grow based on the principle of mutual advantage. If you make a mistake, you can undisplay your friend’s posts or you can unfriend him. This hurts feelings, sure, but it is not violent: It doesn’t loot or kill.
Your friends in Facebook can be from anywhere. They “check in” and plot their journeys. Whether your friend lives in or moves to Beijing or Buenos Aires doesn’t matter. Facebook makes possible what we might call geographically noncontiguous human associations. Language differences can be barriers to communication, but even they can be overcome.
Democracy is hyperbound by geography. You vote in an assigned spot. Your vote is assembled together with those of others in your county to produce a single result, and therefore, your actual wishes are instantly merged. They are merged again at another geographic level, and then at the state level and, finally, at the national level. By that time, your own preferences are vaporized.
Sometimes people get sick of Facebook. They suddenly find it tedious, childish, time wasting, even invasive. Fine. You can bail out. Go to your system preferences and turn off all notifications and take a sabbatical. People might complain, but it is your choice to be there or not. You can even delete your account entirely with no real downside. Then you can sign up again later if you so desire or join some other system of social networking.
Try doing that to democracy. You can’t unsubscribe. You are automatically in for life, and not even changing your location or moving out of the country changes that. It is even extremely hard to delete your account by renouncing your citizenship. The leaders of the democracy will still hound you.
We can learn from Facebook and all other social networks that the Internet has brought us. These are more than websites; they are models of social organization that transcend old forms. Make the rest of life more like a social network and we will begin to see real progress in the course of civilization. Persist in the old model of forced democratic community and we will continue to see decline.