Innovation pessimism_ Has the ideas machine broken down_ _ The Economist

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Unformatted text preview: 1/31/13 I nnova tion pe ssimism: Ha s the ide a s ma c hine br oke n down? | The Ec onomist hardly ris en at all (s ee c hart 1). The v arious motors of 20th­ United States c entury growth—s ome tec hnologic al, s ome not—had play ed thems elv es out, and new tec hnologies were not going to hav e the s ame inv igorating effec t Most popular Recommended Commented on the ec onomies of the future. For all its flat­s c reen daz z le and high­bandwidth piz z az z , it 1 s eemed the world had run out of ideas . The World Econom ic Forum in Davos Leaders without followers Glide path The argument that the world is on a tec hnologic al plateau runs along three lines . The firs t c omes from growth s tatis tic s . Ec onomis ts div ide growth into two different ty pes , “ex tens iv e” and “intens iv e”. Ex tens iv e growth is a matter of adding more and/or 2 3 Islam and science: The road to renewal 4 5 Wom en in com bat: See J ane s hoot The World Econom ic Forum : A tale of two Dav os es Gun control: Round up the guns ! Or don't better labour, c apital and res ourc es . Thes e are the s ort of gains that c ountries s aw from Products & events adding women to the labour forc e in greater numbers and inc reas ing work ers ’ educ ation. And, as Mr Cowen notes , this s ort of growth is s ubjec t to diminis hing returns : the firs t addition will be us ed where it c an do mos t good, the tenth where it c an do the tenth­mos t good, and s o on. If this were the only s ort of growth there was , it would end up leav ing inc omes jus t abov e the s ubs is tenc e lev el. Intens iv e growth is powered by the dis c ov ery of ev er better way s to us e work ers and res ourc es . This is the s ort of growth that allows c ontinuous improv ement in inc omes and welfare, and enables an ec onomy to grow ev en as its population dec reas es . Ec onomis ts label the all­purpos e improv ement fac tor res pons ible for s uc h growth “tec hnology ”—though Stay informed today and every day Get e­mail n ewsletters Subscri...
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This document was uploaded on 02/16/2014 for the course MGMT 237 at UPenn.

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