The Moral Decay Conundrum

A commenter writes

Yeah, but the rapid fall here bugs me. We went from a moon shot to mass rape in the town square within 50 years. I thought we should have had at least a couple hundred years of coasting.

Hmmm…the weird thing is that while America has evidence of social decay, economic and technological progress has not stagnated. Computers keep getting smaller and faster. Important discoveries in physics have been made in recent years. After many decades research, chronic myelogenous leukemia, like Lymphoma, has effectively been cured. Recent inventions also include: flat screen HD TV , the world wide web, active matter, apps, smart phones that have as much computing power as supercomputers decades ago, drones, 3-D printing, image recognition, MRI, genome sequencing, Elon Musk’s Tesla and space-x program, and so on. Technological progress has gotten smaller, but it’s still there. Instead ring worlds, flying cars, and ecology skyscrapers, it’s nanotechnology, computing, and biotechnology. The moon landing is sometimes seen as the ‘pinnacle’ of human achievement or the high water mark of American ingenuity, but it was very expensive, not really needed, and unprofitable. Maybe the debt it created helped the private sector of the economy via Modern Monetary Theory. But the private sector is better at innovating.

One reason why moral decay and technological progress can coexist is because the private sector, which is the source of most innovation, still has a lot of autonomy, although welfare liberals like Sanders want to impose more regulation and taxes. As president, Bill Clinton, to his credit, understood the importance of the private sector, whereas Sanders doesn’t. Same for STEM in the research universities, another major source of innovation, which seems to be immune to moral decay.

This is why the concept of ‘exit‘ or ‘secession‘ is so appealing to Silicon Valley, as I write:

But it’s not that I want the government completely out of the picture – I’m not a libertarian anarchist – but resource optimization is needed. In much the same way that a company restructures to become more efficient and productive, America needs a similar restructuring. Silicon Valley has proven again and again adept at weathering all macroeconomic storms – from recessions, to financial crisis, emerging markets busts, to oil crashes – while other regions struggle with chronic stagnation. Maybe this is a testament to the efficacy of high-IQ and ingenuity of Silicon Valley, combined with a free market and meritocracy, and if the ethos of this technology subculture is applied to broader governance, maybe America will reach its full potential.

If not exit, put the geeks in charge. If the private sector is what’s holding America together, why not let them run it, instead of wealth spreaders like Obama and Sanders that will hold America back? But that won’t solve the moral decay problem, and some companies profit from decay. Heavily restricting the private sector may result in technological stagnation, economic weakness & job loss, and lower standards of living. So something to consider.

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