Re: More Green Party

From: Michael S. Lorrey (
Date: Mon Jul 10 2000 - 13:03:15 MDT wrote:
> "zeb haradon" <> wrote:
> > Yes, point being, most were invented in nations without economic
> > restriction. I assume that all of the above answers you gave were also
> Hmm, I forgot to list gunpowder, from restricted China.

China's 'gunpowder' is merely the most extensively proven source. There is also
the use of 'greek fire' which long predates any Chinese evidence, and which has
about the same level of or lack of chemical similarity. Then there was the
development of nitrocellulose (also known as guncotton or 'smokeless powder')
which is a product of treatment of cotton or wood pulp with nitric acid. While
the British originated guncotton for use in cannon, it was not stabilized for
commercial use in small arms until the late 1800's in the US. 'Gunpowder', a
product of charcoal, sulphur, and saltpeter, has not been used in any
significant military extent since the US Civil War, and has not been used in
personal defense applications since prior to WW I.

> Most of Damien B.'s items weren't invented in nations as we use the term
> today. And 'without economic restriction' really needs qualification. His
> early examples probably came from societies with a social obligation to
> redistribute food surpluses, otherwise known as primitive famine insurance.
> (Or not even famine. Hunting can be a matter of luck as well as skill.)
> But yes, socialist countries aren't known for their high inventiveness. China
> didn't get far with the gun.
> > I can't verify that for sure. I think if I'd asked for inventions confined
> > to the 20th century, and you gave answers which were completely honest, at
> > most 1 of the 5 would be invented in a socialist leaning nation.
> > I think a nation like Australia or Canada, nations with mixed economies (I
> But most economists would not call Australia or Canada socialist, and would
> call the United States (and Japan) mixed. Japan has a ministry of
> technological development, remember, although I don't know what MITI has been
> involved in. And much of the United States' advantage (besides size and not
> having wars fought on its own soil) comes from the university system, which
> receives quite a lot of government support.
> The Internet was a military research project, remember, and funded by DARPA
> and university money for a long time. The New Economy has its roots in gov't
> nurturing.

DARPANET was a military communications project, which no longer exists. The
nodes which made up Darpanet numbered in the hundreds, where the current
internet numbers in the hundreds of millions, most all of which is privately
funded. Saying the US Govt is responsible for the internet, rather than private
industry, is like saying that the Wright Brothers are responsible for the SR-71.
The US Gov't didn't get the idea for the darpanet until a private contractor
lobbied DARPA and the Senate DISC (Defense Intelligence Subcommittee) to fund
the project.

> More generally, if you ask for inventions confined to the 20th century, none
> of them will come from nations without economic restriction, if you let that
> include tariffs, high income taxes, and safety nets.
> > am making an assumption that this describes Astralia, less of an assumption
> > with Canada) would progress very slowly if not for the innovations of the
> > US.
> And size isn't insignificant. Saying the US produces more inventions than
> Canada and Australia isn't surprising. We do happen to dwarf the population
> of any other Western nation. Plus their economies have largely coalesced
> around exporting raw materials to larger countries.

The European Union has over 300 million people, 50 million more than the US, so
they should be responsible for at least 20% more inventions than the US.

> And I'm sure there are people on this list who would call the United States
> socialist, although I'd call them nuts.

I would call some states in the US socialist, or at least social democracies,
while others are far from such status. The socialist states in the US maintain
their socialist policies without goin broke by federalizing as much of the
expense for their socialist policies as possible, thus putting a large percent
of the burden for their sytems on people that live in non-socialist states via
federal taxation and redistribution.

> > There may be a lot of great inventions floating around in Australia, but
> > without the marketing and corporate aspect, they're not going to find a
> > place in the everyday life of most people.
> In the meantime those nasty European socialists seem to be enjoying better
> cell phones than we do. I think Japanese mobile data is even more advanced,
> judging by Wall Street Journal articles. They were 18 months ahead of Europe
> who were 18 months ahead of the United States.
> Note I'm not arguing that socialism works or that markets are bad. But
> simplistic black-and-white labelling gets my goat.

The cell phone phenomenon is more a matter of what does the job sufficiently.
The US is hampered by its large area, thus increasing the cost per user for the
cell infrastructure, and is why such a large percent of the US population does
not use cell phones (I don't, and while they seem neat, I don't expect to need
one until I get a cell modem on a laptop, and until they extend cell service up
to where my fishing cabin is located in northern NH).

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