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An Engineer's Solution for Sustained Economic Growth

Economics / Economic Theory Oct 04, 2009 - 02:26 PM GMT

By: Steve_Morra

Economics

Best Financial Markets Analysis ArticleSustained or increased economic chaos is the likely result of the public solutions offered for the worldwide macro-economic decline as of late 2009.  Comparing simple historical economic data with public rhetoric, the solutions offered promise further economic decline past recession into depression and beyond for the vast majority of our micro-economic futures.  It is time to publicly look at the “Golden Goose” in technical history to find a realistic solution with sustained economic growth.


A positive solution can be found by first identifying the Golden Goose that has fueled that last century’s growth, as well as throughout all history.  The second step requires using modern tools to insure they are nurtured and protected for sustained economic growth, rather than being killed or haphazardly left to fend for themselves.  Individuals and the now floundering crony-capitalist, credit/bank, fiat currency, corporate, political, and other systems would do well to consider and to debate this solution as part of their natural survival instinct.

The Golden Goose and its Death

All throughout history, very rarely have true technical breakthroughs occurred.  Such breakthroughs are the Golden Goose upon which our modern economy actually depends, as that is where significant and sustained growth originates.  Such true technical breakthroughs have historically led to major step increases in overall economic growth and societal well-being.  This is their distinguishing hallmark.

Obvious examples have been the discovery (pure science) and development (early engineering) of fire, writing, the wheel, currency, credit money, gunpowder, iron, bronze, concrete, printing press, calculus, electricity, motor, engine, electrical and optical communication, psychology, aviation, plastic, steel, aluminum, nuclear power, transistor, laser, computer, and the Internet.  Examples do not include a better cell phone, computer or software with more features, WiFi in every city, “green” energy, the electric or hydrogen car, and many other marketed modern products or publicized ideas proclaiming technical breakthrough.  While nice or useful, they merely re-package previous true technical breakthroughs and are examples of late engineering.  They do not and cannot provide significant step increases in overall economic growth and societal well-being.  Such products or ideas can only provide growth and well-being to a small portion of society, usually easily traceable to those who paid for the marketing.

There were enough breakthroughs in the last century to fuel the capitalist system until now.  The necessary and inevitable rise of corporations and credit/banks and where gold was replaced by fiat currency has run its course.  They have inadvertently killed the Golden Goose along the way.  The capitalist system is now failing because there are no true technical breakthroughs left to move toward public benefit.  Further, corporations have placed technical individuals into intellectual prison through one-sided pre-employment agreements.  In simple farming terms, society has eaten its seed corn.

The following “Golden Phoenix” solution addresses these two problems with breakthroughs and intellectual freedom.

The Golden Phoenix Solution

From the ashes of the Golden Goose, we can create the Golden Phoenix.  The solution affects public policy, which is large enough and able enough to implement a change of this kind.  Others are more adept in expanding the principles described in the following two articles.

Article 1
Support, reward, protect, provide timely evaluation of, and timely approval/rejection for the discovery and early development of True Technical Breakthroughs by technical individuals in the private domestic sector through government policy and funding.

  • “Support” means:
    • To provide financial support to technical individuals using public funds for at least 5 year renewable periods.
    • No significantly lengthy or legal application or renewal paperwork, including no conditional attachments, repayment provisions, and minimal accountability.  An annual 1-page statement would be adequate accountability.
    • To support technical individuals in the private domestic sector.  This does not mean support to corporations, LLCs, or partnerships, unless the individuals choose that form of business.  In such case, they must remain the majority shareholder/owner during the support term and up to 5 years beyond if not renewed.
    • To provide patent support as needed by using additional public funds to pay for legal, filing, defense, and related patent costs.
    • To culturally promote social status elevation of those supported technical individuals as a class, similar to the high regard given to sports or rock stars.
    • To all applicants collectively up to an annual total budget of $10B.  Much less than 1% of applicants will succeed and all others will fail, but a success more than pays for all failures and rewards by orders of magnitude.
  • “Reward” means:
    • To provide significant, multi-million dollar level, cash profit rewards to the individuals who are successful.
    • Non-taxed “lifetime +50 years” profit to individuals who are successful.
    • No penalties or debt to individuals who fail, but praise for their efforts.
  • “Protect Technical Individuals” from:
    • Exploitation by corporations, government agencies, and individuals.  Let the free enterprise system operate for the individuals first.
    • Common societal ideas of what is normal and the usual marginalization.
    • Breakthrough rejection based upon, or traceable to, lobbying by special interest groups.
    • Unsolicited publicity, including severe fines on news agencies and the like, similar to protecting FBI or CIA agents.
  • “Timely Evaluation of, and Timely Approval/Rejection for” means:
    • To evaluate the cost/benefit of true technical breakthroughs to society and to approve or reject them within 5 years.  If a decision cannot be reached in 5 years, then the breakthrough is automatically approved.
    • Evaluation done democratically by politics, religion, business, news agencies, public, Internet, etc. but formally approved or rejected by the government.
  • “True Technical Breakthroughs”:
    • Means the discovery (science) and development (engineering) of technical things that can produce a step increase in overall economic growth and societal well-being.  Examples are fire, writing, the wheel, currency, credit money, gunpowder, iron, bronze, concrete, printing press, calculus, electricity, motor, engine, electrical and optical communication, psychology, aviation, plastic, steel, aluminum, nuclear power, transistor, laser, computer, and the Internet.
    • Does not mean a new cell phone, computer or software with more features, WiFi in every city, “green” energy, the electric or hydrogen car, and many other marketed modern products or publicized ideas.
  • “Technical Individuals” means:
    • Persons who provide historical, documented evidence of pure technical research or early development effort and interests through years of their life.
    • Persons who stumble across a discovery.
    • Persons involved in any technical discipline commonly acknowledged by colleges, such as physics, engineering, biology, etc.
    • Persons involved in a non-college discipline, even if it is on topics like free energy, flying saucers, ball lightning, or other unexplained phenomenon.

    Article 2

    Pass federal law explicitly restricting employer rights to the intellectual property of their few million technical workers.  By law, make it possible for workers to freely research and innovate after work on their own time, with their own tools, without fear of theft by their employer, and without the fear, time and cost of non-compete clause defense.

  • Pre-employment agreements must clearly state the free and clear rights of workers to their own intellectual property, where it is not in the reasonable or obvious course of their employer’s business in the domestic or state locality of the employee.  The locality requirement avoids the common tactic of multinational lawyers saying they are into almost anything somewhere in the world.
  • Law posted in companies like equal opportunity law posters with substantial fines imposed for corporate violations.
  • Employers limited to 1 year in acting positively via patent application or reduction to practice on any employee’s idea submission that is in the line of the company’s business, or the idea becomes employee’s property, free and clear.

Final Comments

Historically, significant economic growth has originated from the fringe of humanity and not from its mainstream.  However, mainstream humanity historically takes the breakthroughs with early development from the fringe and employs late development to turn it into economic prosperity.  The historical result has typically been a major step change in overall economic growth and well-being for the society, and utter misery for the fringe individuals who made the discovery or a prototype embodiment.

The mainstream marginalizes fringe activity at best, often severely deriding their efforts and even literally burning them at the stake.  A cultural shift is needed to thank them collectively for their efforts and thankless sacrifices, but also to protect their individual privacy.  They do not appreciate being derided, told they are worthless, and told to get a job instead of dreaming and exploring.

Almost all true technical breakthroughs were historically discovered and with early development by one or two individuals, usually at great individual cost and without happy or profitable endings.  Individuals other than the originators have profited as the late developers of a breakthrough, as has the society at large. 

The time between each technical breakthrough discovery has historically taken centuries.  In the last century or two, the interval has dropped from centuries to decades.  It is generally not possible to establish the exact date of a breakthrough, and often the names of the persons responsible.  Only the time period in which the breakthrough occurred, and occasionally the groups of early developers involved, can be established at best.

True technical breakthroughs are about discovery or pure science and development or early engineering.  They are not about late development or engineering.  Early engineering is typically performed by the individual or small group after discovery in order to demonstrate an embodiment of the discovery or prototype.  Late engineering is typically performed by a business system in order to move the development to the public and make a profit for the investment risk.

It is in the best interests of corporations, government, and especially the public to resurrect the Golden Goose permanently with both high societal status and significant riches.  The developments of the modern world can be used to preserve and culture this economic well-spring and change history, instead of leaving it ragged, haphazard, and left to chance or fat chance.  In this age, tossing trillions at a dying capitalistic system will not resurrect the growth it requires until billions are invested at the fringe.  The mainstream has historically only tossed support to the mainstream and not to the fringe.  However, the immense growth of the last century now puts the mainstream at very high risk of chaotic collapse.  What is billions of dollars when many tens of trillions dollars are at stake and increasing rapidly?  Let’s be smart about this.

This solution is not about supporting scientists, engineers, or pure research as is commonly understood today.  The pure meaning of those terms has been changed by corporate profit activity in the last century.  Even science fairs and judging, as well as formal education, cater to the corporate interests and avoid the non-MBO fringe.  However, the solution is about science, engineering, and research in their natural and classical meaning.  Bell Laboratories was the last significant source of pure research, but was disbanded late last century.  DARPA is currently the only other source, but is still skewed towards applied research.

Corporations have been useful for late development and advancing true breakthroughs to the general public.  However, they do not perform any significant pure research towards true technical breakthroughs, regardless of posturing.  Instead, they typically operate using Management By Objectives (MBO) or similar management methods.  Such methods are very effective at killing any true breakthrough or pure research efforts and abilities, because no near term profits can be seen.

Instead and at best, corporations engage in applied research, which can have near term profitability within a few years.  This corporate behavior is the result of the capitalist system, which has rightly risen in the last century to move true breakthroughs towards public benefit.  No significant pure research activity that could lead to a true technical breakthrough is now left unfettered by corporate profit interests.  That activity is still done haphazardly at the individual level.  The government must permanently step in to formalize this fundamentally important pure research function done at the private domestic level for the survival of the country.

Artists precede breakthroughs.  There are plenty of examples of ideas thought ridiculous by the mainstream in one era that became the mainstream in another era.  For example, “Doctor Who”, “Star Trek”, “Contact”, “2001”, “Close Encounters” and numerous other modern films and books show us glimpses of future technical breakthrough candidates, as well as provide some cost/benefit evaluation.  Examples include highly advanced machines for medical analysis and repair, travel, food, energy, and time.  Some current examples of fringe activity include Alan “Uncle Al” Schwartz’s work, Jack Sarfatti’s work, zero point and vacuum energy, telekinetics, spinning superconductors, and many thousands of other efforts.  Google is still our friend.  The “unexplained phenomenon” search term can help if inspiration or understanding is needed.

Almost all of these examples are on the fringe and difficult to evaluate by the mainstream, but many are technical nevertheless.  There are certainly plenty of fakes, quacks, con artists, crackpots, nut-cases, dead-enders, and the like out on the fringe as well, much like the Wild West.  So thank God for education and the ability to think for yourself in order to sort it all out.  Do make friends with your nearest technical person for evaluative help.  Only a few in many thousands of these ultra minority technical individuals are working on the next truly big thing.  Most of us would like to see their breakthrough happen very soon.  They could use some significant help from us, so let’s make a mainstream breakthrough of our own to provide that help.

By Steve Morra

s.morra@tx.rr.com

© Copyright Steve Morra 2009

Disclaimer - The opinion expressed in this report is the opinion of the author. The information provided was researched carefully, but we cannot guarantee its total accuracy. The report is published for general information and does not address or have purpose or regard to advise specific investments to anyone in the general public. It does not recommend any specific investment advice to anyone. 


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