Before everyone goes crazy and decides capitalism is the problem, remember that all these nice things we have here in the US are a result of capitalism. By nice things I mean iPods, computers of various types, big screen TV's, etc. Crap no-one really needs, but they are dang nice to have.
--They're dang nice to have and they'd look a lot different and cost a helluva lot more for a helluva lot longer time if it hadn't been for one very much unappreciated LIBERAL idea:
The Space Race.
Had we not taken JFK up on his challenge to put a man on the moon by the close of the decade, NASA wouldn't have inspired the government to contribute the kind of heavy lifting needed to make development of 95 percent of today's microprocessor technology possible, which in turn made all the things you listed above possible.
Nope, our progress in that vein would have more closely resembled that of the Soviet Union, who were more than happy to continue relying on vacuum tube technology for decades afterward.
The internet, which is powered by trillions of microprocessors which themselves are the equivalent of trillions of trillions of transistors, which are the equivalent of trillions of trillions of vacuum tubes, would most likely outweigh the Earth itself in the sum of its aggregate computer parts and require the total energy output of The Sun.
And there would be no room left for human or animal habitation because each personal computer would require several acres worth of space.
And it would be fine for the libertarians, because "the market will develop this stuff when there is a demand for it", and "private industry should not have to fund development without assured profit and government has no business making the rest of us pay for development either".
Microprocessor technology would be to Big Tech what increased fuel efficiency is to The Big Three automakers! And we'd still be arguing about why the industry is so resistant to changing with the needs of the times, only we'd be arguing BY TELETYPE!
While watching our 21 inch RCA roundscreen "X-ray Special" TV sets with a color gamut somewhere between faded green and orange, 480 X 335 resolution and a tiny 3-inch monaural speaker.
Only the round screen would be "flat", so that it would "look" modern!
No thanks...I like it when government does the heavy lifting that benefits America as a whole across the board. The only place I don't like it is when it gets injected into 7th century societies with the notion of "implanting Western values". That has not worked out so well.
We'd be far better off if the radical Islamic states were still functioning in the vacuum tube era, and we had just let them keep their oil while we developed solar, nuclear, wind... and fuel efficient diesel-electric hybrid vehicles.
Let THEM be the libertarians.
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