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    The idea of “cost gravity” may not apply to all things at all times in all places, but that doesn’t detract from ideas such as:

    I argue that every great empire is born out of a monopoly on a vital new technology: bronze, iron, the horse, irrigation, roads, military organization, finance. In each instance, essential knowledge spreads until everyone has access to it. Then the empire loses its monopoly, crashes, and the cycle repeats.

    It is hard to understand exponential curves. Our minds give up as we approach the infinite. The curve tends to look either totally flat or like a straight cliff. We can look at history and collapse it into: “clean water and roads let the Romans build their empire” or “my portable phone has more computing power than the whole of NASA in 1962.” When I tell you that in 60 years, the average person on the planet will have and use more computing power than the entire Internet today, does that concept fit into your world view?

    I’m thoroughly enjoying this read, currently halfway through the book.

    As a courtesy for anyone interested: there’s free PDF and EPUB versions available for download on the frontpage of the site.