Competition creates innovation: Creative Destruction & America’s problem

In the early 1940s, Joseph Schumpeter, a Harvard economics professor, was researching business innovation. At this time, innovation wasn’t really something that was studied, it was just something that occurred. Outside of Bell Labs, no organization seemed interested in investigating how great ideas came to be, and how they were scaled to society. Schumpeter was one of the first academics to take up the issue. He focused his thoughts on one of the major veins of American industry—railroads. In his lifetime railroads went from a novel invention to a technology that disrupted every facet of the American economy. But his primary interest wasn’t how the railroad connected New York with Los Angeles. It was how it burned a previous economic system to the ground and rebuilt a new—more efficient one—in its ashes. Schumpeter’s key discovery was essentially that competition creates innovation.

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Is Dwight Eisenhower Overrated, Underrated, or Properly Rated?

Eisenhower managed WW2, led an Ivy League University, became a beloved President, oversaw the rise of the American hegemony; all while carrying on an affair. Most historians rank him as one of the top 15 Presidents of all time, but the question remains: Is he Underrated, Overrated, or Properly Rated?

Childhood

David Dwight Eisenhower was born in Texas to pacifist Jehovah Witnesses, but grew up in Abilene, Kansas. Abilene is one of those towns that got its first paved street four years before WW1. I’d imagine today they have numerous DVD stores. His family was poor and his college prospects looked grim, but he was lucky enough to be represented by one of a handful of Senators who gave appointments to Military Schools on merit, not political connections. For basically every other state but Kansas, admission to the US Military schools operated like a aristocracy. At nineteen he forged his birth certificate and got an appointment to West Point.

Verdict: UNDERRATED

Time at WestPoint

Eisenhower was an average student, totally laudable. He graduated 61/164, which is less impressive when you realize West Point wasn’t what it is today. “How long are we going to continue preparing for the War of 1812?” General MacArthur asked when he assumed control of the school in 1919. What’s strange about Eisenhower’s college experience is how much of it seemingly revolved around sports. Nearly every biography makes a passing reference to his love for football and baseball. The thing is, he was terrible at them. He was one of those average players who made up for their athletic limitations with grit and intelligence. He couldn’t even make the Varsity team. Basically, the media’s perception of every white WR in NFL history.

Verdict: OVERRATED

Writer

Today, books by politicians are essentially 250 page-marketing campaigns. There’s really little of actual substance. They are just pages of pages of homespun tales vetted by publicists about their America. If the writer is Republican they use a title like Unintimidated or No Apology, which last I checked were previously reserved for movies staring Sylvester Stallone. If the writer is a Democrat they’ll use titles ripped from the self-help aisle like Know Your Power and The Audacity of Hope. For his first publication Ike went with A Guide to the American Battle Fields in Europe—and then wrote 282 pages on the specific battle strategies used by the American military in WW1.

Verdict: UNDERRATED

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To Hate or to Adhere

Why does language evolve the way that it does?

I stumbled upon a passage written about John Adams by Thomas Jefferson. Adams was a notoriously jealous and petty. He earned the nickname “His Rotundity” for being obese and arguing that everyone should refer to George Washington as “His Majesty the President.” Jefferson was a cool guy. A philosopher and statesmen that shared the opinion that most reasonable, fun loving people of the era had: Adams was a jerk. After learning that Adam’s official notes from the Treaty of Paris were “a display of his vanity, his prejudice against the French court and his venom against Dr. Franklin.” I found Jefferson’s reply interesting. He simply wrote, “[Adams] hates Franklin, he hates [John] Jay, he hates the French, he hates the English. To whom will he adhere?”

This begs the questions: Why, 232 years later, do we say we hate things, but not adhere them?