I’m sure others have been studying and reading about this topic more seriously than I. It’s apphauling to me how many incredibly poor-quality products dominate modern markets and how primitive many of the products labeled as “amazing technology” actually are. In short, the technologies we use in our daily lives are far behind where they could be were they unfettered by constraints in society. What I ponder is the relationship of this observation to the notions of free-market capitalism and competition that millions, if not billions, of people hear about and practice in their daily lives.
If I had to guess, I’d say this state of intellectual stagnation is due to the never-ending cycle of war in human history. Also, whether a cause or symptom, societies perpetually fail to educate themselves; and commit themselves to incestuous relationships with economic systems that constrain them whether mercantile, communist or what-have-you. Those economic systems provide the engines that inform the society as to what it can and can’t achieve, today and tomorrow. A great example is the notion that our societies must continue to burn fossil fuels to continue to enjoy using the modern conveniences and machinery some have become accustomed to. Another example is the commonly believed notion that war is a natural human instinct and will never cease. And with regards to the nexus between product quality and slow-to-mature technology, the TV is a good example. Weren’t we supposed to have affordable hologram projection systems rather than LCD screens by now?
I wonder what societies would be like if they were driven by constant collaboration, a valuation on knowledge that includes everybody, and a constant search for new efficiencies and discoveries. I don’t care about feasibility and am certainly not interested in discussing the deficiencies humans possess which might prevent such a situation. I’m just curious as to what that society might look like, how it might work, and what it would be like to live in. There would be lazy people, abitious people, good people, bad people, sick people, healthy people – all myriads of flavors. How would they live, eat, and what would they do everyday?