As a journalist, I recently came across an article from the History Channel that listed seven inventions from the Gilded Age that changed the world. It reminded me of a commentary I did years ago based on Mark Steyn’s book, After America.
In that commentary, Steyn encouraged us to imagine what it would be like to bring our great-grandfather living in the late 19th century to an ordinary American home in 1950. The result would be astonishment. This home is full of mechanical contraptions that our great-grandfather could never have imagined. There is a huge machine in the corner of the kitchen, full of food and keeping it 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 a metal conveyance coming down the street at an incredible speed. It’s enclosed with doors and windows. It’s like a house on wheels. There are lots of these things called cars, but not a horse or horse-drawn carriage in sight.
But now imagine you could send someone from 1950 to our world today. I think they would be disappointed by how little has changed since then. Sure, there are computers and smartphones now, but I suspect they would have expected more changes than they found given all the remarkable technological advancements that took place over a hundred years ago.
Physics and politics are two reasons why much of our technology reached a plateau long ago. We can dream of flying cars, time machines, and teleporting devices, but there are physical limits that prevent them from being created through scientific research and innovation alone. Additionally, bureaucratic regulations put up significant barriers for inventors and entrepreneurs looking to bring new technologies to market due to government interference in their business practices.
It’s time for us as a society to roll back government size so that innovators can continue pushing boundaries without fear of regulatory obstacles holding them back.
In conclusion, while we may have come far as humans in terms of technological advancement since the Gilded Age, much of our progress has been hindered by both physical limits and political interference through bureaucratic regulations that stifle innovation and imagination