Stop Streaming America

There are a series of ads that talk about the media streaming device Roku. Roku, the maker of set-top boxes that stream TV.

Here is the text of the ad about Keep Streaming America.

America, a majestic land made even more magnificent by the tenacity of our compatriots. And because we entrust this great country to these great Americans, you can just sort of take it easy, and watch Roku. Roku is a tiny box that streams your favorite shows on Hulu Plus, HBO Go, and hundreds of other channels straight to your TV. You want to watch episodes of ‘Glee’ for hours on end? Great! Someone else will successfully transplant a dolphin heart into a human being. Stream a ridiculous amount of ‘Modern Family.’ Let some other American create a battery-powered battery charger. Watch ‘New Girl’ till your eyes swell. Another American is testing a prototype engine that runs on compost. Let’s face it TV lovers, you weren’t the leading candidate to patch the ozone anyway. So get a Roku, and keep streaming America.

Can do attitude and Ask Not What Your Country Can do for you

This attitude of satisfaction with a good enough life and expecting others to solve problems is a contributing factor to the economic stagnation and stagnated progress to solving solvable problems.

Economist Tyler Cowen makes the case that the pace of innovation has slowed, and that we are now on a “technological plateau” that makes further growth challenging. There is a detailed review by Chuck Crane.

The USA has eaten low hanging economic fruit since the 1700s.

1. Free land (Homestead Act, etc.)
2. Technological breakthroughs (electricity, motor vehicles, telephone, radio, television, computers etc.)
3. Smart, uneducated kids (who were made productive through excellent public education).
4. Cheap fossil fuels.

One of the metrics of lack of progress is slower increases in life expectancy. From 1860 to 1930 there was a rise in life expectancy from 48 to 68 years. There has been a continued increase to about 80 years. However, 7 years of life expectancy are lost due to obesity and sedentary life styles.

This is the attitude of –
I could eat better and exercise more but that would involve getting my ass off of this couch and stopping myself from stuffing my face with these cheetos.

There could be more world changing technology projects but a lot of technology companies and hackathons are about making video games.

When you make your virtual city are you actually making a city that generates economic value ? No.
If you run a virtual farm are you making food ? No.
If you make a video game at a hackathon then maybe that might lead to a game app that makes a few thousand dollars or even a few million but is that intellectual capability going to solve the tough problems of the world ? No.

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