The Secret (and Very Important) History of the U.S. Solar Industry

Robinson Meyer on what folks get wrong about technology:

Zoom out a bit, and you can see a deeper problem with how Americans think about technology. We tend, perhaps counterintuitively, to overintellectualize it. Here’s an example: You have probably lived with a leaky faucet in your home at some point, a sink or shower in which you had to get the cold knob just right to actually shut off the flow of water. How did you learn to turn the knob in just the right way—did you find and read a college textbook on Advanced Leaky-Faucet Studies, or did you just fiddle with the knob until you learned how to make it work? If you had to write down instructions for turning the knob so it didn’t leak, would you be able to do it?

[…] R&D is useful, but ultimately only organizations deploying technology at a mass scale can actually advance the technological frontier. We don’t need the government to fund more science alone; we need the government to support a thriving industrial sector and incentivize companies to deploy new technology, as Japan’s government does.