I vividly remember my parents bringing home our first answering machine, a duel-cassette Panasonic (PC)
Suddenly, the whole notion of having to "wait by the phone" for someone's call, or wondering if they had, was eliminated. Our excitement was palpable for what was almost a religious moment: life would never be the same again.
Wealth creation is like that: When it occurs -- and in a free economy it happens all the time -- one can't help but feel awe. In America, technological miracles aren't biblical lore but a near everyday occurrence that demonstrably improve the human condition.
Do you really want to go back to a world before Netflix (NFLX)
Consider the massive public response to the 1955 announcement of Dr. Jonas Salk's polio vaccine, which was the front page headline in newspapers worldwide. The horrifying epidemic was afflicting more than 50,000 American children a year by the early 1950s, resulting in thousands of deaths and cases of paralysis. On hearing of a "safe, effective, and potent" vaccine, "factory whistles blew, children cheered, car horns honked and parents wept with relief." Indeed, when mankind's quality of life is improved right in front of our eyes it's truly magic. Today's families don't worry about polio because wealth that was created, and subsequently built upon, decades ago.
A recent survey suggested that users were willing to give up showering, sex, even their shoes, before their smartphones. Some 21% would go barefoot the entire week before turning in their phones. Another 40% wouldn't brush their teeth. Actor Tony Curtis, one of the biggest stars of 20th century film, was famously buried with his.
It's not an irrational impulse. Along with other innovative companies, Apple's (AAPL)
Although not as frequently acknowledged, that same enthusiasm demonstrated for Apple would undoubtedly hold true across all areas of modern production, from Pfizer's (PFE)
In the markets, innovations like exchange-traded-funds and computerized trading have made investing cheaper, better and even more accessible. That opportunities like platinum or interest rates are open to everyday investors is revolutionary, and the instantaneous brokerage execution and rock bottom (even free) commissions which were unheard of less than two decades ago, are now considered de rigueur. There's never been a better time to be an investor.
Ironic, then, how Occupy Wall Street's anti-capitalist message is fueled by social networking technology from free market companies like Facebook (soon to go public) and Apple (AAPL),