@johntamny: The US doesn’t have a technological edge, it has a freedom edge. Countries around the world have suffocated talent forever. Steve Jobs’s father came from Syria. If he’d stayed in Syria, there’s never an Apple.

Oct 20, 06:03 AM

Photo: Apple's absolute first logo, pre 1976. Drawn by then-co-founder Ronald Wayne. The logo features Sir Isaac Newton sitting under the apple tree where he supposedly discovered gravity, by an apple falling on his head. See also the 1976 Apple 1 manual and advertisements where this logo was used.

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John Tamny, RealClearMarket, Forbes, and author, The End of Work, and Who Needs the Fed?, reminds us that Willis Carrier developed the air conditioner in Syracuse New York – allowing many people to move to Florida and live productive lives there. It literally made the world much more productive. This is the genius of free trade. I don’t care where it was invented; I just want access to it. This runs counter to the argument by Ian Hathaway (Bookings Institution) and Richard Florida (University of Toronto), who hold that if the US doesn’t maintain its technological edge, then our living standards will go down. No, no, no: we have lower living standards precisely because other people aren't as innovative in other parts of the world. These two don’t realize how isolationist they are; they argue that the US faces an assault of innovation from other parts of the world; in fact, as the rest of the world liberalizes, I think of all the Willis Carriers in China no longer having their talent suffocated. 

Steve Jobs’s father: he came from Syria. If he’d stayed in Syria, there’s never an Apple. The US doesn’t have a technological edge, it has a freedom edge. Talented, ambitious people keep coming to the United States because free people can prosper. People drive progress, not countries. If the world’s strivers have a chance to get to the United States, they can innovate. Countries around the world have suffocated talent forever. . . . We want France, India, China to thrive, to create their own Microsofts – if they do, think about how we’ll live here.

If markets are open and free, advances that take place in the US will lift up innovation around the world. If Americans succeed in harnessing something, people will want it around the world. The important thing is that people and trading lanes be free.

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