Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

Rich people, meet smart people

Posted by Evan Herrnstadt on November 26, 2007

According to The Independent, the Second Annual Fortune Forum will showcase a breakthrough energy technology:

[Kane] Kramer, who was 23 in 1979 when he conceptualised the technology that led to the creation of the first MP3 player, refused to give specific details of the new discovery, or to name the inventor, so as to maintain the element of surprise for Friday. But he indicated that it is a breakthrough in micro-technology, and that British scientists who have tested it are convinced that it will work.

“This is something … that’s the accumulation of almost a decade of work,” he said. “It’s a new science, a Super Material. It would be 80 per cent cheaper than any alternative means of production, and it will contribute in a major way to reducing climate change.

Before we climate change folks all quit our jobs, note that the last time I heard this kind of announcement, we got the freaking Segway. The greatest benefit of this previous “revolutionary technology” has been watching Gob Bluth ride a monogrammed unit on Arrested Development.

On a broader scale, I do think the idea of matching wealthy investors (the total net worth of this year’s diners is estimated at over £100 billion) with inventors is an important one:

There is an old saying that if you invent a better mousetrap the world will beat a path to your door, but he says the adage is true only for inventions that improve gadgets that are already known to work. Big corporations can be very coy about putting money into something genuinely new. “Business wants to jump on a bandwagon, not build the bandwagon,” [Kramer] said.

Imperfect information, as we have so often noted, causes serious problems when people with no access to capital have great visions.

One Response to “Rich people, meet smart people”

  1. mpb said

    Then there are those who ask if the bandwagon is needed (or something else instead)….

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: