Private vs. Public

Here is a very interesting juxtaposition, though I don’t think the people invoolved see it this way

There is a new camera technology that is able to capture the “light field” and so can have multiple focal points within one image.

It is known as the Lytro – a marvel of high technology.

And here is a photo. simply click on the photo to enable the focus shifting technology.

Interestingly enough, the photo is of the interior of the space shuttle – on it’s last voyage – it looks like it could have been taken in 1969.

The space shuttle of course is the government boondoggle that has killed many spacefarers and was overbudget from day one.

the private sphere, creating and constantly innovating – the public sphere – freezing in time due to political  considerations.

Private vs. Public which sphere would you rather be living in?


5 Responses to “Private vs. Public”

  1. Nice – I must admits I threw this one together rather quickly.

    Just a quick observation…

    But you must admit the government would not have created the phone required for me to be able to "phone" it in.

  2. Martin says:


    I have to disagree with your either/or summation of the world of science and technology in its relation to governance. I think you leave yourself open to attack by presenting such a simplistic world view.

    You must know that the private sector hold off on introducing new technology to the market until such time as a previous product lines revenue begins to run dry. Patents are bought up only to be filed away. A tech company will sit on a patent especially when it threatens an existing, profitable product. Therefore, consumers are spoon fed incremental advancements in a bid to stretch said innovation across the products life-span. Look at how Apple's iphone gets redesigned yearly. Its not because they care about putting the newest, most amazing technology in the hands of consumers, they just know that people are gaga for tiny, brightly lit screens that go pippy pippy-pap pap pip, and they turn a hefty profit from that knowledge. Having said that, I'm am not of the opinion that the government (the U.S. government more so than any) are any better at delivering tech innovation to our homes and offices but you have to wonder where we would all be without the military industrial complex.

    All I'm saying is that your argument ignores the symbiotic nature of the private and public sector with regard to the advancement and proliferation of new technology.

    Also – did you write this on your mobile device? The number of errors contained in the post has led me to believe that you have, as they say, 'phoned it in' this time.

    • Jonathan M.F.C. says:

      You must know that the private sector hold off on introducing new technology to the market until such time as a previous product lines revenue begins to run dry.

      This is misleading. Companies do not hold off on introducing new technologies; they introduce new technologies to compete with opposing companies. They also introduce new technologies to attract consumption and raise revenue (either by increasing quantity demanded for their product or making it possible to raise the price). They introduce new technologies as long as the opportunity cost is low enough — this isn't something to criticize. It is an economic relationship that makes the consumer better off.

      Patents do damage this relationship, though. With patents, companies can effectively bar competitors from producing the same technology. It slows technological progress, which is why so many Austrians are opposed to patent laws (not so much the drive to internalize profits, but more so the artificial IP laws developed by government).

    • Ryan says:

      Now apply your argument to the market for hand-made violins:

      Violin luthiers will often horde very old, very rare tone wood for some indeterminate future line of production, which they hope to sell at a much higher price than they otherwise would have, had they used the wood to immediately mass-produce their most popular violin model.

      Is this bad? Are they not entitled to forego production in hopes of earning a higher return in the future?

      Applying your argument to the wine market seems to suggest that you would rather we all drink grape juice immediately, rather than waiting for a fine wine to develop from a great harvest.

      In other words, the fact that producers forego the immediate sale of their products in an act of speculation is precisely what makes the market varied, dynamic, profitable, and plentiful. I'm not sure where the problem is here.

    • Steven says:

      Your point relies on patents. Patents are government creations and would not exist in a totally free market. They create bad incentives and distortions. It allows companies to use government force to keep other companies from introducing products in the market at a cheaper price making us all richer.

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