Charles Koch on innovation

It was once widely accepted that progress depends on people challenging and testing each other’s hypotheses. This leads to the creation of knowledge that, when shared, inspires others and spurs the innovation that moves society forward and improves lives. It is a spontaneous process that is deeply collaborative and dependent on the contributions of others. Recall Sir Isaac Newton’s statement that he achieved so much by “standing on the shoulders of giants.”

Scientific progress in seemingly disparate fields creates opportunities for fusion, which is where the greatest innovations often occur. The British writer Matt Ridley has brilliantly described this process as “ideas having sex.” Today, this creation-from-coupling is evident in, for example, the development of driverless cars, which combine advances in transportation and artificial intelligence. When seen through this prism, the opportunities for life-altering innovation are limitless.

The U.S. is already far down the path to becoming a less open and free society, and the current cultural and political atmosphere threatens to make the situation worse: Growing attacks on free speech and free association, hostile rhetoric toward immigrants, fear that global trade impoverishes rather than enriches, demands that innovators in cutting-edge industries first seek government permission.

RTWT – in the WSJ.

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7 Responses to Charles Koch on innovation

  1. Nicholas (Unlicensed Joker!) Gray

    What a shame that Australia copies the US in so many ways. We should not copy the bad traits, and try to invite smart people here! But will we?

  2. Fred Lenin

    Turnbull has made innovation a bullshit word ,like the corruption of the word gay turned into wankwords.

  3. J.H.

    The “Hostile Rhetoric” towards immigration is misleading, at least in the Australian, American and European context.

    The “hostility” is directed towards illegal immigration in the guise of pseudo asylum seeking and Islamofacism in particular. Legal immigration has very little criticism from the resident populations of these countries.

    In Australia there is a large intake of migrants. The only “hostile rhetoric” is directed at particular subgroups for very real reasons, not “xenophobia”…. Sudanese refugee immigrants are over represented in crime figures, welfare dependence and gang activity. Muslims are over represented in terrorist activities, crime, welfare dependence and gang activity. The government actively hides the fact.

    Those are not imagined fears or careless criticisms from a “xenophobic” population of “Whites”. The statistics back up the claims. The crimes and victims are real.

    The rest of the criticisms in the post are valid…. the problem is tyranny of government, not the intolerance of the people…. God knows they have tolerated the intolerable from their political classes and social elites for long enough. They have suffered enough from the fascism of small interest groups, tax slavery and odorous regulation and bureaucracy.

    Don’t you dare call The People, “Xenophobic”, “Misogynist” or any other derisive “-ist”, “-ic” or “-ism”. Lay that at the feet of abusive government.

  4. Art Vandelay

    The U.S. is already far down the path to becoming a less open and free society, and the current cultural and political atmosphere threatens to make the situation worse: Growing attacks on free speech and free association, hostile rhetoric toward immigrants, fear that global trade impoverishes rather than enriches, demands that innovators in cutting-edge industries first seek government permission.

    But, hey, what does Charles Koch know about innovation? In Australia, our free market-loving government prefers to encourage innovation by squandering taxpayer’s cash on shysters, consultants and yet more bureaucrats.

  5. Bruce of Newcastle

    Apposite is that I’ve worked in an industry which extensively uses Koch Industries’ stuff (esp. their SX gear), and I can attest from personal experience they’re an innovative and efficient bunch of people. Unlike government science weenies.

  6. Forty years ago people were spruiking an exciting future which never came. Instead, a different exciting future came.

    I admire anyone who flogs coal in huge quantities, but I don’t want Charles Koch telling me how to behave and think so a future of driverless cars can dawn on humankind.

    Conservatism is about letting things happen and fail and being totally surprised. The future is likely in the hands of some unkempt dropout who’s angry and not getting the girls…so he’s gonna show us. He thinks we’re all wrong, that unhygienic little know-it-all…and he’s right!

    By the time he’s fabulously rich he’ll just be a boring philanthropist with a foundation talking about agility and innovation and education…but right now he’s gold. The way to unleash him is not to decide that the future lies with Egon Musk and Big Battery. Let them all float and see who can swim.

    The trouble with futurists and visionaries is that they extrapolate convincingly from recent conditions and developments, a bit like climate warriors.

    As for globalism, like all great ideas it makes a terrible dogma. It’s copping a caning right now because what people thought was an unfailing mechanism is proving to have huge downsides. Let’s expose it to all the criticism that can be heaped on it…and don’t call that criticism our “fear”.

    Global trade will survive because it is still a great idea…but the philosophical bathwater that baby is floating in is starting to stink.

  7. Paul

    It would be helpful when linking to articles to include the fact that a subscription is required!

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