The Israel-Kinect Connection

Business,Economy,Education,Family,Free Markets,Human Accomplishment,Israel,Media,Regulation,Science,Socialism,Technology


Who do you think invented Microsoft’s “Kinect,” which is in the Guinness Book of Records as the “Fastest-Selling Consumer Electronics Device” ever? Microsoft would like to claim the credit, but it belongs to an Israeli outfit called PrimeSense.

It’s my guess—and CNN’s Zombie Zakaria might wish to investigate this—that, overall, those who invent these silly contraptions are not necessarily the same sort of people who use them obsessively. (I recently watched a boy bob up-and-down and sideways like an automaton for over an hour in front of the Kinect. Back in the day, my own, now-grown girl would have been building Lego, painting, reading, or “inventing” creative games in the yard.)

Yes, the fogies of “60 Minutes” are obsessed with kids; errant American adults cater to, and worship, but never guide, their kids. The outcome of deification without direction is that the current crop of fattened little Buddhas is not that great.

Truth be told, the hybrid, hi-tech workforce—comprised as it is of local and outsourced talent—is manned, generally, by terribly smart, much older people with advanced engineering degrees. (That’s too much like hard work which is hardly “fun.”) The truth is that the people designing gadgets for America’s (face it, dumb) kids are older and highly educated. Some are Americans; others are Asians (South more than East, but both) and Israelis. The hi-tech endeavor is thus all about the older generation—veteran techies—uniting to supply their young, twittering twits with the playthings that keep their brainwaves from flatlining.

Back to the point: Some of my readers refer to Israel’s economy as a socialistic one, a fact that could reflect a general media bias (against Israel, not socialism). Although Israel’s economy is by no means unfettered, it is not much different from Western Europe’s Third-Way, mixed economies, with a respectable per capita GDP. Warren Buffett has invested billions in Israel’s private sector, with good returns. The country’s high-tech industry has certainly been on the cutting edge for sometime.

Significant is the trend. And it is unmistakable: “Emerging markets,” as Israel is, are becoming freer, whereas America is becoming less free. The devil is in this detail.

I am affiliated with the Jerusalem Institute for Market Studies. Those who’re interested in tracking the effort to liberalize Israel’s economy will get a good idea by following JIMS’ remarkable work out of Jerusalem.


For a third day in a row, my book, Into The Cannibal’s Pot, is Amazon’s #1 in the category on Social Policy. The Publisher (link here) is not charging for shipping. This is valuable for our South African readers. Kindle will be up by, I am told by the best man possible, early this week, probably tomorrow.

4 thoughts on “The Israel-Kinect Connection

  1. Graham Strouse

    I recall reading that the only country with more NASDAQ entries than Israel was the US.

  2. Robert Glisson

    There are two forms of Socialism, voluntary and compulsive. Voluntary always evolves into Capitalism and compulsive into a dictatorship. The Russian Jews that moved to Israel went voluntarily with Stalin’s blessing until the voluntary began to unravel toward free trade, the compulsive Russian dictatorship couldn’t handle it and cut off their ties to Israel, moving their support to the Arabs. Bringing in Golda Meir to seek support from the US. Interesting how economics influence politics.

  3. Bob Harrison

    You write eloquently about the Israeli economy and I’m glad to see it. The myth about Israeli dependence on the US has to be challenged and I’m fairly certain you view the US-Israeli relationship as net burden to Israel, especially with Obama in charge.
    In addition to the tech sector, Israeli agriculture is among the most efficient in the world, especially with regard to water use. Israeli irrigation technologies are sought after by arid countries the world over. Israel is also pioneering new forms of solar energy, which will only become more important as the new Egyptian leadership renegotiates natural gas contracts with Israel.
    I have a question though. How do you see the military industry in Israel and for that matter in the United States? Is it a stimulus to research and innovation or a giant waste of resources that could be better used by the private sector?

  4. Myron in Detroit

    The trouble is that Israel’s private sector productivity benefits the Israeli people – BUT American foreign aid to Israel benefits the Israeli GOVERNMENT (and those who constitute the “Kosher Oink Sector” like the religious yeshivas who are subsidized by Uncle Schmuely – Uncle Sam). So don’t count on the hucksters in the Knesset to cut off their personal source of graft power.

    Of course, the Moslems are quite inventive as well – a few years ago, Pakistan had its 8th patent since the founding of the state! Oh yes, they are our “allies” in the War on Terrorism – with friends like that who needs ….

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