The facts are these. iPhones notwithstanding, key measures show there has been a slow down in the rate of technological progress since the early 1970s. Productivity is down. The number of new companies entering the economy is down. The number of new companies that later become Fortune 500 companies is down. The median male wage is down from its highpoint in 1969…back when a man first set foot on the Moon. Alan Shepard played golf on the Moon in 1971, but in 2017 we can barely launch a man into low earth orbit. Civil engineers are no longer trained on how to build bridges, instead their education focuses on repairing existing ones. Median real wages for everyone — even for college grads — are flat to down since 2000. The percentage of Americans moving from one state to another — meaning to find new opportunities — is down, by half since the 70s. The frequency with which people change jobs is down. There are no new great universities. The same education is more expensive. American dynamism, as you can guess, is down. Mutatis mutandis, these trends point down at a faster clip in Europe and Japan. This is much, much worse than a long line at the grocery store or being stuck in traffic behind an asshole driving an SUV.
Ok, let’s take a look at that graph above — that’s a logarithmic scale, if I’m not mistaken.
Are we just looking at the log(t) plot, with some noise, and then letting the brain run away with itself, as it is wont to do?
I don’t know, but some simple stats. tests would tell me.
And that even before we get into why one should think a 1950 dollar should bear any meaningful global relationship to a 2010 dollar.
Alan Shepard played golf on the Moon in 1971, but in 2017 we can barely launch a man into low earth orbit
again, “we choose not to do these things, not because they’re hard, but because they’re a bit expensive and pointless right now”, to paraphrase JFK. There are plenty of people in LEO right now, and more to come it appears.
To take a stoical view: many of these other metrics, many of which I do not dispute the interpretation nor their predictive power are maybe should not be taken so seriously as they are.
However, to flip the table and proffer some interesting trends to support you though — the proportion of US citizens self medicating at a terrifying level, the trends in average life expectancy and quality adjusted life years etc.
These are items of real interest in this context.