The Energy Department Hasn't Accomplished Much

The Energy Department Hasn't Accomplished Much
AP Photo/Eric Gay, File

Four decades ago, the movie Star Wars was released and the first Apple II computer went on sale. That same year, 1977, newly-inaugurated President Carter established the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) in an attempt to launch a government-inspired tech revolution in energy.

The history of the computer-tech revolution is well storied. Far from exhibiting “irrational exuberance”—as infamously asserted by economist Alan Greenspan in 1996—tech entrepreneurs were not only quite rational, but from the ‘bottom up' literally created an entirely new kind of infrastructure and permanently transformed society. Policies and institutions have been forced to embrace the implications or be assimilated.

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