The Corner

Two Ways of Looking at the World

I’ve won a lot of arguments with my iPhone. I set it down on the table and ask whoever I’m boring with my lectures to explain why things like cellular phone, computers, personal financial services, travel, etc., get better and/or cheaper every year, but things like public schools get more expensive and mostly either do not improve or actually get worse. Figure that out and you’ve figured out a lot about what governments can and should do. There’s the iPhone model and there’s the rubber-room model. Neither is perfect, but one obviously, undeniably works better than the other. Take your pick.

Every now and then, an example of that really grabs you by the throat. For instance, while all the cleverest lawyers in Washington were arguing over the details of Obamacare — which will not make a single sick person better, ever — some really smart guys in Berkeley were putting together robotic exoskeletons that allow paralyzed people to walk. This isn’t science fiction: People are using these devices right now. There is a lot of hope in the world and change on the way, but it isn’t coming from Washington.

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