Still stuck in the Middle Ages

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“We have Stone Age emotions. We
have medieval institutions.. And we have god-like technology.”


Edward O. Wilson.


The BBC reported last week
that researchers from IBM had created the world’s smallest motion
after manipulating individual atoms with a scanning
tunnelling microscope. They separately reported the proposals of two Dutch engineers to
introduce self-lighting weather warnings on motorways, and a dedicated driving
lane that could recharge electric cars as they passed over it. As artist Daan
Roosegarde pointed out, auto manufacturers spend billions of dollars on car
design, research and development,

“but somehow the roads.. are completely immune to that process. They are
still stuck in the Middle Ages, so to speak.”

Another staggering gulf lies between what we as individuals are capable
of doing – more or less anything to which we put our minds – and what our
governments are capable of doing – more or less nothing, other than mindlessly
to continue the dismal and seemingly inexorable cycle of tax, borrow and spend.
At a recent City debate hosted by Marcus Ashworth of Espirito Santo Investment
Bank, ‘Is monetary activism the answer ?’, Steve
Baker MP
and Ewen Stewart of Walbrook
essentially revealed the paucity of government thinking through
generations, and across the political spectrum, that gave rise to such a
desperate question in the first place.

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