Practical application of engineering or technical processes


Bundling and unbundling, by Thomas Sowell, 13 Apr 1998
"Microsoft is not the first company to have the government try to second-guess the bundle it is offering for sale. Back in 1956, the government forced Eastman Kodak to stop selling Kodachrome film with the developing included. ... Kodak sold it ... so that they could see that it got done right. But antitrust lawyers forced them to sell the film and processing separately. "
Hess, Karl (1923-1994), by Brian Doherty, The Encyclopedia of Libertarianism, 15 Aug 2008
Biographical essay
"In his 1979 book, Community Technology, Hess wrote candidly of some of the successes and of the many failures that attended his efforts to turn his Adams-Morgan neighborhood in D.C. into a self-sufficient community through rooftop hydroponic gardens and trout aquaculture in basements. ... He regarded his new vocation [welding] as consistent with the view that human technologies have been more important to the spread of liberty than political philosophers or ideologues. From 1980 to 1985, he edited a newsletter titled Surviving Tomorrow, in which he emphasized small-scale alternative technologies over big centralized ones. "
Related Topics: Karl Hess, Libertarianism
Intersecting Currents of Change, by Kevin Carson, 1 Jul 2013
Examines how different forces, such as technogical change, counteract the hierarchies of corporations and states
"Sometimes, improvements in networked communications and cybernetic technologies reinforce the shift in military balance of power from the United States and its allies to dissident regional powers ... Sometimes states, in attempting to undermine rival states' control of their domestic populations, create liberatory technologies that undermine not only their rivals' power but their own. For example the Tor router ... now undermines the NSA's ability to keep the American domestic population under surveillance and the proprietary content industries' ability to prevent file-sharing."
John Gilmore on inflight activism, spam and sarongs, by John Gilmore, Mikael Pawlo, GrepLaw, 18 Aug 2004
Topics discussed include: terrorism, the drug war, encryption, censorship, spam, the end-to-end principle, the right to travel, anonymity, secret FAA/TSA rules, blogs, copy protection, free software and the EFF
"Many forms of expression have been rapidly enhanced by computer technology, without being throttled in the cradle by vested interests. ... The Internet and the Web synergized with digital media creation and editing, providing a cheap and powerful distribution path. High bandwidth distribution of large files, including music, movies, and software, is now automated, and EFF helped to keep these networks free to operate despite powerful opposition."
Letters to Thomas Robert Malthus, on Several Subjects of Political Economy, and on the Cause of the Stagnation of Commerce, by Jean-Baptiste Say, 1821
Series of five letters from Say to Malthus, written in response to the latter's criticisms in Principles of Political Economy (1820); the letters were translated from the French by John Richter
"What difference do you perceive between knitting-needles and a stocking-frame, but that the latter is a tool more complex and more efficient than the needles, but, in fact, applying ... the properties of metal, and the power of the lever, to fabricate the vestments with which we cover our feet and legs? The question is, therefore, reduced to this:—Is it advantageous for man to take into his hands a tool more powerful, capable of doing a much greater quantity of work, or of doing it much better, in preference to another tool of a gross and imperfect construction, with which he must work more slowly, with greater toil, and less perfection?"
Minimum Wage Rates, by Ludwig von Mises, Human Action, 1949
Chapter 30, "Interference With the Structure of Prices", Section 3; discusses the setting of minimun wages both by legislation and by collecitve bargaining, pointing out some of the resulting problems
"The technological improvement in the production of A makes it possible to realize certain projects which could not be executed before because the workers required were employed for the production of A for which consumers' demand was more urgent. ... Mere technological knowledge is of no use if the capital needed is lacking. ... A tendency toward higher wage rates is not the cause, but the effect, of technological improvement."
Objectivist Ethics in the Information-Age Economy, by Nathaniel Branden, Navigator, Feb 2001
After reviewing human progress, from hunter to farmer to laborer to thinker, argues that what he calls "Objectivist ethics" are more relevant to current society
"Scientific and technological discoveries are pouring from our research-and-development laboratories at an unprecedented rate ... The value of the computer ... lies not in its material constituents, but in its design, in the thinking and knowledge it embodies ... Microchips are made out of sand; their value is a function of the intelligence encoded within them. A copper wire can carry forty-eight telephone conversations; a single fiber-optic cable can carry more than eight thousand conversations—yet fiber-optic cables are cheaper, more efficient, and much less energy-consuming to produce than copper."
Parity: Bureaucratic Tyranny by Moral Fraud, by James Bovard, Future of Freedom, Sep 1999
Discusses the consequences of establishing "parity" of agricultural prices, in the name of "fairness"
"While parity advocates have long declaimed that crop prices are unfairly low, crop prices have fallen primarily because modern technology, better seeds, better fertilizers, and better-educated farmers have produced far higher yields and lower costs of production. The concept of parity presumed that there had been no change in the cost of production for major crops; yet farming underwent a mechanical revolution in the 1920s."
Related Topic: Farming
Risk and Safety, by Aaron Wildavsky, Adam Wildavsky, The Concise Encyclopedia of Economics
Discusses the increase since the 1950s in government regulation of risks to health and safety, and the views of proponents and opponents of a "riskless society"
"Contrary to common opinion, living in a rich, industrialized, technologically advanced country that makes considerable use of industrial chemicals and nuclear power is a lot healthier than living in a poor, nonindustrialized nation that uses little modern technology and few industrial chemicals. ... Surveys of risk perception show that knowledge of the known hazards of a technology does not determine whether or to what degree an individual thinks a given technology is safe or dangerous. This holds true not only for laymen, but also for experts in risk assessment."
Related Topics: Cancer, Health
The Death of Politics, by Karl Hess, Playboy, Mar 1969
Discusses libertarianism, contrasting it with both conservatism and modern liberalism, including specific policy differences
"Monopoly cannot develop as long as technology is dynamic, which it most abundantly is today. ... Short of total state control, and presuming creative brains in the community, and presuming the existence of capital with which to build even modest research facilities, few would flatly say that technological innovation could be prevented simply because of some single source enjoying a temporary 'monopoly' of a given product or service."
The Economic Role of Saving and Capital Goods, by Ludwig von Mises, The Freeman, Aug 1963
Explains there is a third factor of production aside from nature's resouces and human labor, and also that entrepreneurial judgement is necessary to attain the desired end of production
"What distinguishes contem­porary life in the countries of Western civilization from condi­tions as they prevailed in earlier ages ... is ... not the famili­arity with the exploits of pure science and their utilization by the applied sciences, by technol­ogy. ... What these poor countries need in order to adopt the Western methods of mass production for the satisfac­tion of the wants of the masses is not information about a 'know how.' There is no secrecy about technological methods."
The Importance of Tools, by Karl Hess, Future of Freedom, Apr 1993
Contrasts scientific and technological discoveries or inventions with political events throughout the history of humankind
"Perhaps the first great tool of change was the horsecollar or ox yoke. It was the tool which first enabled human beings to use a non-human source for energy. Even the discovery of fire seems pallid beside this. ... Isaac Newton described differential calculus. In some distant future, private space travellers will owe their journeys, in no small part, to Newton and his analysis. ... In America, the Wright brothers’ plane successfully flew. ... That was also the year that Crick, Wilkins, and Watson received their Nobel prize for describing the molecular structure of DNA."
Related Topic: Politics
The Third Industrial Revolution: Not As Easy to Co-opt as the Second, by Kevin Carson, 8 Jun 2013
Compares the first (steam and hydraulic power) and second (electric power) industrial revolutions with the new micromanufacturing and networked communications technologies and the ability of dominant players to co-opt the third revolution
"By all these means, the state and the coalition of interests that controlled it were able to stave off the threat liberatory technologies posed to their centralized power. The Second Industrial Revolution, which offered to destroy the factory system, free labor from the domination of capital, destroy decentralize production to the neighborhood and village, and abolish the divisions between both town and country and hand-work and brain-work, was instead co-opted into the institutional framework of the First Industrial Revolution. The technology that should have destroyed the old system of power was instead harnessed to serve it."


Release 2.0: A Design For Living in the Digital Age
    by Esther Dyson, Oct 1997
Release 2.1: A Design For Living in the Digital Age
    by Esther Dyson, Oct 1998
The Upgraded Edition of Release 2.0
The Half-Life of Policy Rationales: How New Technology Affects Old Policy Issues
    by Fred E. Foldvary (Editor), Daniel B. Klein (Editor), Cato Institute, 2003
Contents: Metering, Excluding, and Charging: Technology, marine conservation, and fisheries management - Quality Assurance and Consumer Protection: Technology and the case for free banking - Natural Monopoly? - Other Areas of Policy


Peter Thiel on Facebook, Technology, and the Higher Education Bubble, by Peter Thiel, Reason TV, 12 Nov 2010
Peter discusses The Social Network movie, the Hollywood vs. the Silicon Valley views of reality, PayPal, Zimbabwe and money, seasteading and freedom to leave a State, and college

Why Political Liberty Depends on Software Freedom More Than Ever, by Eben Moglen, FOSDEM, 5 Feb 2011
Discusses the problems of relying on centralised network services controlled by untrustworthy entities and the need to build alternative networks