Saturday, April 04, 2009

What Is The Greatest Human Invention Of All Time?

In an email this week I wrote that I felt that Democracy is the Greatest Human Invention of all time. I think I might try to find some time this week to elaborate on why I think this, and pop it on the blog.

But I though I would open the question up to people who read this blog. What do you think is the greatest human achievement or invention of all time? And why?


subrosa said...

What about the ability to 'clean' water enough to make it safe for drinking? Just a fleeting thought.

Daniel1979 said...

Just asked my Wife and Neighbour, they both said Sanitation.

Tory Poppins said...

Interesting notion Dan. I wonder was 'Democracy' actually invented as such? Or was/it a natural human disposition before the emergence of undemocratic practices?
In other words, was it democracy that was invented, or 'non' democracy?
Just a thought ;-)
As for the greatest invention . . .I'm drawn towards saying the Wheel. (But then again . . .lol, there are so many)

Anonymous said...

it's anaethesia; democracy or wheels won't be uppermost on your mind if you're having a kidney transplant without it.

scunnert said...


subrosa said...

I think I'm in the category of your wife Daniel although it's difficult to cast scunnert's contribution aside.

Sorry about last post, was interrupted during the thought process :)

Roger Whitfield said...

My vote goes for money, although it is cast as the root of all evil and has been responsible for numerous wars, just think where would we be without money!

A life of simple production and batering may sould attractive but is just not practical.

No matter what you think of it, or how much/little of it you have, you must conceed that money has changed the world!

Anonymous said...

we were hunter/gatherers for half a million years without money, or any of the aforementioned articles or concepts. no, it's got to be something that was of practical use for the majority of human existence.
if we combine the two basic essential tools (cordage and a shapr edge) we get the deadly weapon that made us masters of the fearsome beasts of pre-history. without it nothing else could have happened. atlatl!

Anonymous said...


Tommyboyjedi said...

Im gunna vote for machinery/computers.

because we are only now seeing the development of this, but the evolution of machines is far outstripping ours, and in the future our most endeering invention will be the machine imo.

who knows where we will be in a million years, but for some reason if we arent here, i can see them still being here.

Tim Worstall said...

There have been three great inventions.

1) Agriculture.

2) The scientific method.

3) The limited liability company.

Agriculture allows civilisation, by creating a food surplus so that some at least can do other things than find food.

The scientific method should be obvious.

Limited liability allows the growth of large scale economic activity.

Sk8ers956 said...

Greatest invention in recent history, possibly of all time would have to be Electricity. Without it/ before it the world was very basic and uncivilized. After it, we have become to be the advanced modern civilization that we are today.

Anonymous said...

I think writing has to be one of the Greatest Human Inventions of all time.
The ability to communicate thoughts and ideas to others, who need not be present in time or space, is truly remarkable and has without doubt transformed civilisation for the greater good.

Brannon Glenn said...

This has been of interest to me for a long time. Through several discussions I feel comfortable with these three items (in no particular order):

1) Time. The ability to accurately tell time allowed for better crop management, made trans-ocean navigation possible, opened the door for exploration of Earth.

2) Cutting tools. Knives, axes, and saws, all come from the chip of stone first used to tame the wilderness.

3) Fire...or the ability to make and control fire.

Alone these are significant steps in Human development. Together you get massive works of human endeavor.

For some modern perspective, look around at all that is around you. Almost everything has interacted with cutting tools, controlled heat, and time. If you leave your house each day with a watch, lighter, and small pocket knife there are countless uses that you can come across...even if you just ride the subway to an office and back home each day.