Sunday, April 6, 2014


The Internet is the first thing that humanity has built that humanity doesn't understand, the largest experiment in anarchy that we have ever had.

Eric Schmidt

The Web as I envisaged it, we have not seen it yet. The future is still so much bigger than the past.

Tim Berners-Lee

download speeds

I would like to believe that the ABM (American Business Model) worked—and was the envy of the world (as its propagandists like to claim)—but again and again I find myself running across evidence that says we are losing ground; and that, not infrequently, we are way down the list.

So is there anywhere where we are #1? Yes, indeed:

  • We spend more on healthcare by a wide margin than anywhere else—with lamentable results. We age sicker and die a full 3-4 years before the citizens of most other developed nations.
  • We use more energy per capita that anywhere else—much of it wasted.
  • Militarily, we are the most powerful nation in the world—but seem unable to put that power to effective use. What is more the price we are paying for such military strength is more than we can afford—and is causing us to neglect many other facets of life which sorely need attention. These range from infrastructure to education.

Given the prominent role of the internet in the American Way of Life today, you might think that the U.S. would be up there at the top of the tree when it comes to internet download speeds. After all, we invented it—with a little help from Tim Berners-Lee—and isn’t the ABM the most efficient free market system in the world?

Apparently not. In fact, when it comes to download speeds, Australia is the fastest and we are down there second from the bottom—only just ahead of the Philippines.

Since I have had to shrink the graphic to squeeze it in, let me quote some of the figures to show just how far behind we are—when it comes to download speeds.

We are talking Mbps (Megabytes per second). The source is

  • AUSTRALIA 24.5
  • SWEDEN 19.2
  • FRANCE 17.3
  • MEXICO 12.9
  • USA 6.5

These days the ABM is becoming increasingly divorced from the real economy and is failing to delivery what the typical American needs. Unfortunately, most of us don’t seem to have woken up to that fact—let alone determined what to do about it.

We had better wake up very soon. We are at or near the bottom of way too many lists (or at the top of the wrong ones) for this situation to be sustainable.


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