Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Video Response to TEDTalk by Niall Ferguson on The 6 Killer Apps of Prosperity

To listen and view the talk I'm discussing you can view it here.


The 6 killer apps are: 
1.) Competition
2.) Technological Innovation
3.) Property Rights
4.) Modern Medicine 
5.) Consumerism
6.) Work Ethic
Niall compares East and West nations and their implementation of these values or "apps" and the results that follow. 

I appreciate the thought behind this but end up ranting about social injustices these often create. Does the use of these 6 killer apps result in a zero sum game? i.e. The success of one nation means the determent of another. If a nation becomes wealthy, does that mean the individuals are wealthy? So what is wealth? Adam Smith said its not money but the exchange of goods and services to meet the needs and wants of the people. 

If all of our needs are met then what is left? Our wants. Marketing fuels our wants and turns them into "needs" which helps drive economic growth through the exchange of more products and services. Is this necessary though for society to function? And, more importantly is this a good idea? Scarcity drives prices and we aren't short of people or wants but natural resources are scarce. 

Are patent laws and intellectual property rights limiting economic growth? If innovation and the creation of spreading ideas, goods and services fuels true wealth creation how do our laws assist in this?  Is there a point in which our need for jobs to supply exchanging of goods and services is greater than our ability to create new ideas? Are great nations of wealth built on the backs of the poor. Does it have to be this way? Are we focusing more on building wealth by just creating jobs or are we pushing forward to a better tomorrow? As great as these values may be could they truly be "killers" in the long run? 

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