The Gilded Age produced a number of inventions that completely revolutionized the world, as detailed in a list by the History Channel. I was reminded of a commentary I made on Mark Steyn’s book, After America, which proposed an exercise in imagining what life would be like for your great-grandfather living in the late 19th century if he were transported to an ordinary American home in 1950. The result would be astounding – a home filled with mechanical contraptions and marvels such as a giant machine in the kitchen that kept milk fresh and cold, an orchestra playing from a tiny box on the kitchen countertop, and metal conveyances speeding down the street enclosed in doors and windows.
However, I now wonder what it would be like to send someone from 1950 into our current world. While there have been significant advancements since then, I believe they would be disappointed by how little has changed. Most of the remarkable technological innovations took place over a hundred years ago.
Physics and politics are two reasons why we may not see flying cars, time machines, or teleporting devices anytime soon. There are physical limits to what can be achieved with technology. Additionally, bureaucratic regulations make it much more difficult for inventors and entrepreneurs to bring their ideas to fruition. It is time for us to roll back government interference and allow innovation to flourish once again.