Highest Rated Comments

mattwridley28 karma

That summarises my view very well. I had missed the question.

mattwridley17 karma

I think the giant leap is a bit of a myth. Most breakthroughs look pretty gradual when you look closer: the first integrated circuit was not much better than the last set of single transistors. The first motor cars could barely compete with the horse. The first planes could not carry very many people. The first fruits of genomics are very small, but gradually increasing. In my book I argue that the breakthrough is mostly a myth, as is the sudden "eureka" moment of inspiration.

mattwridley13 karma

Ha! Idea orgies...

I was naive in thinking social media would result in global harmony and sharing, rather than polarisation and echo chambers. But it's still a net force for good, I think, for all its faults.

mattwridley9 karma

I find this topic endlessly fascinating. Innovative economies often sink into rent-seeking, finance-dominated conservative systems. This happened to The Netherlands after its golden age, likewise Renaissance Italy. The money and the talent goes into lending rather than innovating. Britain has certainly experienced this, without yet entering terminal decline, and that's one reason why I want it to become a dynamic and innovative economy. Actually Britain's richest person at the moment, Sir James Dyson, is a tech entrepreneur, so we have hope. The USA has kept a balance of financial New York and innovative California. The European continent has certainly lost its innovation mojo to some extent and I blame the European Union system which is systematically anti innovation, anti entrepreneur and pro big lobbies at present. It policy of harmonisation -- making sure everything is the same everywhere -- is exactly the policy that caused Ming China to destroy Song China's innovative habits and is the opposite of what led to Europe's success between 1500 and 1900: it was then split up into competing polities, allowing entrepreneurs to choose congenial regimes.

mattwridley8 karma

Big subject. Very hard to achieve meaningful reform of the Lords because anything that makes the house more influential is resisted by the Commons. So evolutionary change is the best bet, especially after the failure of the 2013 reform attempt. My ideal house of lords would be one in which legislators were picked at random to serve 5 or 10 year terms, like a giant jury.