To hear Holstein's interview or to read about it click on "The next American economy" above.
I agree with Holstein in that most of the really powerful innovations sprang from either defense research or NASA research during the last 60 years of U.S. American history.
Let's look at some of the government sponsored research that put us and kept us on top. The easiest research to quantify would be DARPA which eventually became the internet but started around 1958 in direct response to the Russian satellite Sputnik.
Begin quote from Wikipedia:
DARPA was created as the Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), by Public Law 85-325 and Department of Defense Directive 5105.15, in February 1958. Its creation was directly attributed to the launching of Sputnik and to U.S. realization that the Soviet Union had developed the capacity to rapidly exploit military technology. end quote from wikipedia.
Even though Darpa's original purpose was to take all important knowledge defense, governmental, economic and place it in multiple redundant mainframe computers so that if one city or computer melted or was otherwise destroyed in a nuclear blast that many other (or at least one) mainframe with the duplicate information to keep the government running (no matter what) and to keep what was left of the U.S. economy going ( no matter what).
Luckily for us and the world no nuclear war happened and this technology slowly started being used by universities in a sort of sending texts or emails kind of form between research facilities in Universities first in the U.S. and then around the world and then the World Wide Web was first proposed in 1989 and the rest is history worldwide. (see Wikipedia heading 'World Wide Web').
Next, if you look at Microcomputers, they are a synthesis (a combining) of many new evolving technologies in the 1970s regarding mainframe computers. First, you have the very first microprocessor by Intel:
Below quote from
In November, 1971, a company called Intel publicly introduced the world's first single chip microprocessor, the Intel 4004 (U.S. Patent #3,821,715), invented by Intel engineers Federico Faggin, Ted Hoff, and Stan Mazor. After the invention of integrated circuits revolutionized computer design, the only place to go was down -- in size that is. The Intel 4004 chip took the integrated circuit down one step further by placing all the parts that made a computer think (i.e. central processing unit, memory, input and output controls) on one small chip. Programming intelligence into inanimate objects had now become possible. end quote.
This one invention made it possible to consider building a microcomputer. But then code needed to be written and designed for a non- mainframe stand alone unit. This came from Bill Gates when he purchased CPM from Digital Research:
Begin quote from Wikipedia:
Digital Research, Inc. (aka DR or DRI; originally Intergalactic Digital Research) was the company created by Dr. Gary Kildall to market and develop his CP/M operating system and related products. It was the first large software company in the microcomputer world. Digital Research was based in Pacific Grove, California. end quote.
So, when Bill Gates purchased the CP/M operating system and sold licensing rights to IBM in the use of it: begin quote from Wikipedia under the heading "Digital Research".
When the IBM Personal Computer was being developed, DR was asked to supply a version of CP/M written for the Intel 8086 microprocessor as the standard operating system for the PC, which used the code-compatible Intel 8088 chip. DR, which had the dominant OS system of the day, was uneasy about the agreement with IBM and refused, Microsoft seized this opportunity to supply the OS in addition to other software (e.g. Basic) for the new IBM PC. When the IBM PC arrived in late 1981, it came with PC-DOS, which was developed from 86-DOS, which Microsoft acquired for this purpose. By mid-1982, it was marketed as MS-DOS for use in hardware compatible non-IBM computers. This one decision resulted in Microsoft becoming the leading name in computer software. This story is detailed from Microsoft and IBM's point of view in the PBS series Triumph of the Nerds and from Gary Kildall's friends and coworkers point of view on The Computer Chronicles. end quote.
But if you also look deeper into how all the seed technology was developed to create all these things like the internet and microcomputers we begin to see that it almost all came from U.S. Defense research and NASA, both of which were spin-offs of the scariness of the ongoing Cold War between the U.S. and Europe against the Soviet Union and China. So, we have all this progress and technology only because of the Cold War.
So, only because of the Cold War does all this technology really exist. Yes. Many creative people put all these components together and made microcomputers and the internet. But all these innovations came in essence from a Cold War Terror and forced response to perceived real threats, otherwise none of these things would have developed likely for hundreds of years without government defense research facilities getting involved during and after World War II up to the present.
Even if one speculates that much of this technology was reverse engineered from fallen UFOs it is still the U.S. defense department and our then enemies the Soviet Union that helped develop all the seed research for the present microcomputer and internet revolution worldwide.
So, I guess my point is that without further investment into future technology by our government, the future just won't happen. (At least it won't happen for the U.S without Government research on a desperate scale like during the Cold War).
The above is the actual end of this blog article. However, I started on in a slightly different direction so I made it a new but related blog article to this one. It is:
The Future for Earth