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News Opinion Readers Respond

Tap the profits from technologies developed by government research

In watching CSPAN coverage of Congress' response to the current economic crisis, I notice debate centers around whether to cut taxes or increase government spending. This is the exact same argument I heard as a boy. I spent a lifetime in the rapidly evolving field of computer science and am astounded that the science of economics has made no progress in over 40 years.

I propose we give we-the-people a percentage any profits generated from technologies derived from government supported scientific research. This leverages ideas from both strategies. The fields of quantum mechanics and genetics are particularly ripe for the picking.

We invented the airplane in 1903. By the end of World War II in 1945, we were using jet engines and rockets. From there it only took 35 years to reach the moon. Technological progress is logarithmic. Our recent earthquake measured 5.8 on the Richter scale. The Richter scale is logarithmic. An earthquake measuring 6.8 is not just bigger. It is 10 times as big.

Harnessing this logarithmic growth could provide us with all the revenue we need to run our great country for the foreseeable future. We could also atone for our poor stewardship of this country and take our place proudly beside the greatest generation in the annuals of history.

I have no idea if this approach has been tried repeatedly in the past and failed, or my proposal represents a potential paradigm shift in economic science. If you can tell it is a paradigm shift, please try to get it into the hands of our leaders.

The singularity is near. Humanity can no longer afford the luxury of ideology.

William Paul Jenkins, Bel Air

Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun
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