Hi Chad and Jeff
Jeff: A good but not entirely complete answer to your question is provided in The Birth of Plenty. To put it in a nutshell: In the dark ages and its ‘shoulder ages’ everyone, including any possible inventors were the outright property of someone else. They had zero incentive to invent anything at the pain of death — most famously on burning piles — of books if nothing else was at hand. This social process itself was part of the ‘Bread and Games’ show of the time. Whose property was everyone? Take your pick; the feudal lord, the head of the household, the sovereign (who in turn was a slave to the land) but property you were.
Chad: Thanks for the very good take and wide thought intake. May I suggest to further look at both a more historic angle and more importantly one that includes more current global perspectives. A girl working 14 hours in a Chinese factory or a solo mum in Africa or a boy growing up in a Mumbai slum or even a start-up entrepreneur outside the Bay area do not have the the same comfort shackles you eloquently describe but they have no or very limited access to all the other factors required for a joint human effort to create a future we do not have on our current trajectory.
That said, all of us that care are up against the simple economic ruling view of time that today, having a future is simply not a profitable proposition (your hedge fund point). And that is really why none of the wealth is cashing in resource claims (capital/money) to invest in innovation. It’s not seen as paying. If one was charitable one would say the market is wise in not investing in entirely unclear outcomes. If one was uncharitable you would say the market is really discounting all current resource claims (capital) to close to 0, although nominally they are trillions floating around because there is simply no viable way to cash them in (capital preservation) even in the medium term.
It is up to us that care to find, map and create possible ways, and yes, one way would be to sell it to those controlling the resource claims — no scapegoating here either, after all we are all consenting for a rapidly shrinking fraction of a percent of people to own nearly all of them. But hey it’s all nothing but a social convention we are happy to partake in.
I also have the notion that are more interesting ways than selling ideas/innovations at technologies hand now as well as that particular sales pipleline appearing too long, looking at how personal Terence’s fire under our collective ass feels to me.
Thanks and keep it up!