My hypothesis is that technology compounds more quickly than the government’s ability to slow it down, and that entrepreneurship in a broad sense has overtaken institutions as the prime mover of American exceptionalism.

One (very oversimplified) way to think of progress is as a vector sum of government and entrepreneurial forces.

A vector is a quantity that has both a magnitude and a direction, like velocity (speed in a specific direction) or force (strength applied in a particular direction). You can think about it like an arrow of a certain length (magnitude) pointing a certain way (direction). A vector sum is what you get when you add the vectors up.

Imagine that entrepreneurship is pulling in the direction of progress at a magnitude of 50, and the government is pulling in the opposite direction at a magnitude of 50. You end up with zero progress.

But imagine that entrepreneurship is pulling in the direction of progress at a magnitude of 100, and the government is pulling in the same direction at a magnitude of 100. You end up with 200 progress (on our made up scale).

I asked Claude 3.5 Sonnet to make me a toy model to play around with and deployed a version on Replit for you to play with. It's obviously very simple, but give it a try: