As a journalist, I recently stumbled upon an interesting article from the History Channel that listed seven inventions during the Gilded Age that changed the world. This reminded me of a commentary I did years ago based on Mark Steyn’s book, “After America.”
In this commentary, we imagined what it would be like to bring our great-grandfather living in the late 19th century to an ordinary American home in 1950. The poor gentleman would be amazed by all the mechanical contraptions in this home. There is a huge machine in the corner of the kitchen, keeping food fresh and cold. And he would hear an orchestra playing somewhere and then discover it came from a tiny box on the kitchen countertop.
He would look out the window and see metal conveyances coming down the street at incredible speeds, enclosed with doors and windows, like a house on wheels. It’s incredible to think that there are no horses or horse-drawn carriages in sight.
However, now imagine sending someone from 1950 to our world today. They might be disappointed as not much has changed since then. Sure, there are computers and smartphones now, but I believe they expected more changes than they found. Most of these remarkable innovations took place over a hundred years ago.
Why do you think much of our technology reached a plateau? Physics and politics are two reasons why we cannot dream of flying cars, time machines, and teleporting devices yet. There are physical limits that prevent them from being created. The other reason is politics and especially bureaucratic regulations that make it difficult for inventors and entrepreneurs to thrive. It’s time for us to roll back the size of government that stifles innovation and imagination.