OK, I know that George Gilder is a very controversial guy, and that he lost a lot of money for his investors (and himself) in the late ’90s and early 2000s. So, he’s a lousy investor. But, that doesn’t detract from the fact that he can speak and write about the future of technology in ways that can make your head spin and leave you gasping for breath (and, if you’re not very careful, calling your stockbroker to increase your margin account).
His article in the November 10, 2008 issue of Forbes is typical Gilder – thought provoking, inspirational, optimistic and (I hope) right:
The real source of all growth is human ingenuity and entrepreneurship, which often thrive in the worst of times–and are always surprising.
Knowledge is about the past; entrepreneurship is about the future. In a crisis the world of expertise pulls the global economy ever deeper into the past, where accountant-economists ruminate on the labyrinthine statistics of leviathan trade gaps, tides of debt and deficits, political bailouts and rebates, regulatory clamps and controls, all propping up the past in the name of progress.
The crucial conflict in every economy, however, goes on. It is not between rich and poor, Main Street and Wall Street, or even government and the private sector. It is between the established system and the new forms of wealth rising up to displace it–all the entrenched knowledge of the past and the insurrections of futuristic enterprise and invention.
Gilder goes on to identify four critical areas of development: cloud computing, graphics processing, nanotech engineering and energy-saving construction materials.