Welcome to my blog!

My name is Michael Magoon. I am a blogger and author of a series of books on progress, history, economic growth and technology. The first book in the series, “From Poverty to Progress” has been published with many more to follow. I also run a website, “The Ratchet of Technology” that consists of 280+ book summaries on related topics.

First, a bit about me and my background:

  • BA in Modern History from University of California at Berkeley (followed by a life-time of reading about history)
  • PhD in Political Science and Public Policy from Brown University
  • Former professor of Political Science and Public Policy
  • 20+ years work experience as a Technical Writer and User Experience Designer in the Technology industry. I have worked for a number of companies, including Apple, Microsoft, Intel, Oracle and Verizon.

I created this website (and started writing my book series) to:

  • Promote among experts, the general public, political leaders and economic leaders an:
    • Awareness and understanding of progress.
    • Awareness of the direct impact of progress has on their lives and the lives of others.
    • Desire to maintain progress, and if possible accelerate it.
    • Understanding of the causes and origins of progress.
    • Understanding of how progress works both today and in the past.
    • Understanding that certain policies and practices are undermining progress.
    • Desire to study progress of the past, so that we can develop better policies and practices today.
  • Generate ideas, policies and practices that:
    • Increase the rate of progress
    • Reduce the factors that undermine the foundations of progress
    • Enable the maximum number of people, particularly those with below-average income, to enjoy the benefits of progress
    • Mitigate the damage caused by negative side-effects of progress without undermining the foundations of progress.
  • Encourage individuals to:
    • Take leadership to implement pro-progress policies and practices within their institutions.
    • (if they have the resources) Establish new institutions based upon practices that accelerate progress.
  • Build a mass-movement that pressures government and other institutions to embrace policies and practices that maintain progress and accelerate it, if possible.
  • Create a forum for exchange of ideas between authors and bloggers who have been thinking about the concept.

Why Am I Doing This?

While many authors and bloggers have written on topics related to progress, relatively few focus explicitly on the concept. Even using the term “progress” has fallen out of favor with many authors.

This is unfortunate.

I believe that more systematic thinking about the concept and greater use of the term “progress” will:

  • Increase positive thinking at a time when more and more people seem to dwell on the negative
  • Promote a sense of gratitude for what our ancestors have done for us
  • Create a pragmatic, “can do” attitude, when more and more feel overwhelmed by current and future problems
  • Give people ideas for how to solve current problems by copying what has already worked in the past
  • Accelerate progress to the benefit of future generations, particularly those who currently have less.

I hope this website plays a small role in doing all this.