Did the Gov't create the Internet? Not really

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Wiseacre, Jul 23, 2012.

  1. Wiseacre
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    Wiseacre Retired USAF Chief Supporting Member

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    Obama: "The Internet didn't get invented on its own. Government research created the Internet so that all companies could make money off the Internet."

    Not true. Many believe the Pentagon create the Internet to keep it's comm lines open in the event of a nuclear attack. Not so:

    snippet:

    For many technologists, the idea of the Internet traces to Vannevar Bush, the presidential science adviser during World War II who oversaw the development of radar and the Manhattan Project. In a 1946 article in The Atlantic titled "As We May Think," Bush defined an ambitious peacetime goal for technologists: Build what he called a "memex" through which "wholly new forms of encyclopedias will appear, ready made with a mesh of associative trails running through them, ready to be dropped into the memex and there amplified."

    That fired imaginations, and by the 1960s technologists were trying to connect separate physical communications networks into one global network—a "world-wide web." The federal government was involved, modestly, via the Pentagon's Advanced Research Projects Agency Network. Its goal was not maintaining communications during a nuclear attack, and it didn't build the Internet. Robert Taylor, who ran the ARPA program in the 1960s, sent an email to fellow technologists in 2004 setting the record straight: "The creation of the Arpanet was not motivated by considerations of war. The Arpanet was not an Internet. An Internet is a connection between two or more computer networks."

    If the government didn't invent the Internet, who did? Vinton Cerf developed the TCP/IP protocol, the Internet's backbone, and Tim Berners-Lee gets credit for hyperlinks.

    But full credit goes to the company where Mr. Taylor worked after leaving ARPA: Xerox. It was at the Xerox PARC labs in Silicon Valley in the 1970s that the Ethernet was developed to link different computer networks. Researchers there also developed the first personal computer (the Xerox Alto) and the graphical user interface that still drives computer usage today.

    According to a book about Xerox PARC, "Dealers of Lightning" (by Michael Hiltzik), its top researchers realized they couldn't wait for the government to connect different networks, so would have to do it themselves. "We have a more immediate problem than they do," Robert Metcalfe told his colleague John Shoch in 1973. "We have more networks than they do." Mr. Shoch later recalled that ARPA staffers "were working under government funding and university contracts. They had contract administrators . . . and all that slow, lugubrious behavior to contend with."

    So having created the Internet, why didn't Xerox become the biggest company in the world? The answer explains the disconnect between a government-led view of business and how innovation actually happens.

    Executives at Xerox headquarters in Rochester, N.Y., were focused on selling copiers. From their standpoint, the Ethernet was important only so that people in an office could link computers to share a copier. Then, in 1979, Steve Jobs negotiated an agreement whereby Xerox's venture-capital division invested $1 million in Apple, with the requirement that Jobs get a full briefing on all the Xerox PARC innovations. "They just had no idea what they had," Jobs later said, after launching hugely profitable Apple computers using concepts developed by Xerox.

    Xerox's copier business was lucrative for decades, but the company eventually had years of losses during the digital revolution. Xerox managers can console themselves that it's rare for a company to make the transition from one technology era to another.

    As for the government's role, the Internet was fully privatized in 1995, when a remaining piece of the network run by the National Science Foundation was closed—just as the commercial Web began to boom. Economist Tyler Cowen wrote in 2005: "The Internet, in fact, reaffirms the basic free market critique of large government. Here for 30 years the government had an immensely useful protocol for transferring information, TCP/IP, but it languished. . . . In less than a decade, private concerns have taken that protocol and created one of the most important technological revolutions of the millennia."

    Crovitz: Who Really Invented the Internet? - WSJ.com

    Obama would have us all believe that big gov't is the answer; it'll solve all our problems if we give it more tax dollars. He's wrong: bigger gov't is not and has never been a good answer for anybody. Look around the world at the more successful countries. They got that way for the most part because they have constrained the growth of gov't; they have capped spending, some even have balanced budget laws.
     
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  2. DontBeStupid
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    DontBeStupid Look it up!

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    Yeah. That whole WW2 thing would have worked out so much better with smaller government and a balanced budget.
     
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  3. StevenC
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    StevenC VIP Member

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    The Government was quite a bit smaller during WW2.
     
  4. Wiseacre
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    Wiseacre Retired USAF Chief Supporting Member

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    OK, I stand corrected. Bigger gov't is not and has never been a good answer for anybody, except when we gotta fight a world war.
     
  5. uscitizen
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    uscitizen Senior Member

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    The highly regulated Telcos pretty much created the internet.
    First it was the PSTN and that became the internet with the advent of bworser software so the ignorant masses could use the net.
     
  6. rightwinger
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    rightwinger Paid Messageboard Poster Gold Supporting Member Supporting Member

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    The Government controlled all production and resources in WWII. Doesn't get any bigger than that
     
  7. Full-Auto
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    Full-Auto Gold Member

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    Doubtful. But I would like to know why democrats decided they didnt have to pay the bills afterwards.
     
  8. Soggy in NOLA
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    Soggy in NOLA Platinum Member

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    So, you're argument is that deficit spending and FDR's big government vision won WWII?

    That's fucking hilaruous....

    :badgrin:
     
  9. DontBeStupid
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    DontBeStupid Look it up!

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    Hmm. An exception.

    Could there possibly be others?

    Maybe?
     
  10. Soggy in NOLA
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    Soggy in NOLA Platinum Member

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    And for the record, FDR's policies took a depression and created The Great Deprression that only WWII could get us out of.
     

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