Thursday, July 13, 2017

Rutger Bregman — Look at the phone in your hand – you can thank the state for that

Take the driving force behind the digital revolution, also known as Moore’s law. Back in 1965, the chip designer Gordon Moore was already predicting that processor speeds would accelerate exponentially. He foresaw “such wonders as home computers”, as well as “portable communications equipment” and perhaps even “automatic controls for automobiles”.
And just look at us now! Moore’s law clearly is the golden rule of private innovation, unbridled capitalism, and the invisible hand driving us to ever lofty heights. There’s no other explanation – right? Not quite.
For years, Moore’s law has been almost single-handedly upheld by a Dutch company – one that made it big thanks to massive subsidisation by the Dutch government. No, this is not a joke: the fundamental force behind the internet, the modern computer and the driverless car is a government beneficiary from “socialist” Holland....
The Guardian
Look at the phone in your hand – you can thank the state for that
Rutger Bregman


Dan Lynch said...

Well, the article exaggerates. ASML does not control 80% of the "chip machine" market. ASML may dominate the photolithography market, but photo is merely one step of many in chip making.

But the main point of the article is valid -- the chip industry is directly or indirectly subsidized by governments.

The chip fab where I once worked made a lot of chips for military contractors. Aircraft, spy satellites, that sort of thing. The military contractors would come in and say "we want you to build this newfangled chip that has never been built before." We would tell them "that's not practical because it would cost millions and millions of dollars for all the special equipment and engineering." And to our astonishment they would say "well here's a purchase order. When can you start?"

The upshoot was that the military-industrial-spy complex was fully funding my employer for the R&D and the equipment to develop new chip technology. Once that technology was up and running, then my employer could use it to make chips for consumer products & medical products.

So yeah, socialism gives us material things.

GLH said...

Didn't Al Gore invent the internet?