Our system of Government - the first TRULY limited government in history - brought on the greatest explosion in technology and prosperity that the world has ever seen!Having a passing interest in history, I think that I should tell a story, specifically the story of the industrial revolution. There has been a lot of talk about "Pax Americana" and the prosperity brought on by free market principles. This is true, however if you look at the prosperity of Hong Kong from 1950 to 1997 you'll find that they shot up faster than we ever did, and so the observational evidence starts to chip away at the idea that our government has much to do with prosperity and technology.
But, once upon a time when our nation was young, having just won its independence...
The first known record of interchangeable parts was when Eli Whitney of the Cotton Gin fame and Simeon North competed for a contract to deliver standardized muskets to the US Government. That may have been the "birth" of the industrial revolution, but the true story of machining and manufacturing then went to Europe.
In Great Britain and Germany the machinists and tradesmen honed their craft. Ever wonder why the threads on a Mauser rifle action are measured in "threads per inch" instead of "threads per centimeter"? It is because the best machining equipment in the world at that time came from Great Britain.
Then came a World War, the Great Depression, then World War part 2. Remember that up until this time the center of innovation and prosperity wasn't the United States, machining excellence and scientific research was in Europe. There is a very good reason for John Moses Browning's intimate relationship with Fabrique National in Belgium. When the Nazi's captured Belgium they found the High Power pistol design so acceptable they just continued to have FN factories crank them out for use by the Wehrmacht.
After WWII we split Europe with the Russians, we grabbed hold of German scientists and so did they, and then we spent a lot of money trying to develop technology so we could clobber the Russians in World War part 3. But you don't see the "greatest explosion in technology and prosperity that the world has ever seen" until we bring back the spoils of war. Even our Interstate Highway system is a borrowed idea.
And what is the role of government in all of this? At best a financier of research. Sure the space program gave us SuperGlue and pressurized gel pens, but it was a woman named Stephanie Kwolack doing research at Dupont who invented Kevlar. The US government helped fund the mapping of the human genome, however the fruit from that endeavor still remains mostly in the future.
History is the story of how the world as we know it came to be. But you have be very careful in proscribing a "cause/effect" relationship to a system of government and progress. After all, the dominance of Japanese and German research in the last few decades leads me to believe that the "explosion in technology" is not centered in the United States anymore. We are graduating less than half of the scientists and engineers that Germany puts out every year on a statistical basis.
Sweden is a prosperous Socialist country, Cuba is a poor Communist country, Saudi Arabia is a prosperous Monarchy, Israel is a prosperous Democracy. Saying that our method of government is the direct cause of the technological progress made after WWII is a massive oversimplification (as our chief competitors in the technology department, Great Britain and Germany, were rebuilding well into the late 1950s from the war damage). American factories undamaged by bombs were able to put a lot of returning veterans to work (and when those Japanese and German factories got back on line again, who boy did they eat our lunch!) and American Universities and Corporations were able to take advantage of refugee scientists and engineers. I would counter the Dedicated_Dad's statement that it was geography and not limited government that produced the era of relative prosperity from 1950 to 2000 (with some notable exceptions such as 1972 to 1984).
In reality the two biggest "technological leaps forward" were the integrated circuit (which took a German initial patent, American engineering, and Italian physicist to turn into a CPU ) and the internet (we should remember that html was developed at CERN) which had a lot less government support than most people think. And neither invention can be laid at the feet of "limited government" as a success.
This world is more interconnected than we know. We must remember that as America grew prosperous so did the rest of the world, http://www.ted.com/talks/hans_rosling_shows_the_best_stats_you_ve_ever_seen.html