Innovation pessimism_ Has the ideas machine broken down_ _ The Economist

Therewillbemoreinnov ationbutitwillnotc hangetheway

Info iconThis preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.

View Full Document Right Arrow Icon
This is the end of the preview. Sign up to access the rest of the document.

Unformatted text preview: 1970s . It bounc ed bac k between 1996 and 2004, but s inc e 2004 the annual www.e c onomist.c om/ne ws/br ie f ing/21569381- ide a - innova tion- a nd- ne w- te c hnology- ha ve - stoppe d- dr iving- gr owth- ge tting- inc r e a sing 2/8 1/31/13 I nnova tion pe ssimism: Ha s the ide a s ma c hine br oke n down? | The Ec onomist rate has fallen to 1.33%, whic h is as low as it was from 1972 to 1996. Mr Gordon mus es that the pas t two c enturies of ec onomic growth might ac tually amount to jus t “one big wav e” of dramatic c hange rather than a new era of uninterrupted progres s , and that the world is returning to a regime in whic h growth is mos tly of the ex tens iv e s ort (s ee c hart 3). Mr Gordon s ees it as pos s ible that there were only a few truly fundamental innov ations —the ability to us e power on a large s c ale, to k eep hous es c omfortable regardles s of outs ide temperature, to get from any A to any B, to talk to any one y ou need to—and that they hav e mos tly been made. There will be more innov ation—but it will not c hange the way the world work s in the way elec tric ity , internal­c ombus tion engines , plumbing, petroc hemic als and the telephone hav e. Mr Cowen is more willing to imagine big tec hnologic al gains ahead, but he think s there are no more low­hanging fruit. Turning teraby tes of genomic k nowledge into medic al benefit is a lot harder than dis c ov ering and mas s produc ing antibiotic s . The pes s imis ts ’ s ec ond line of argument is bas ed on how muc h inv ention is going on. Amid unc onv inc ing appeals to the number of patents filed and databas es of “innov ations ” put together quite s ubjec tiv ely , Mr Cowen c ites interes ting work by Charles J ones , an ec onomis t at Stanford Univ ers ity . In a 2002 paper Mr J ones s tudied the c ontribution of different fac tors to growth in Americ an per­c apita inc omes in the period 1950­93. His work indic ated that s ome 80% of inc ome growth was due to ris ing educ ational attainment and greater “res...
View Full Document

This document was uploaded on 02/16/2014 for the course MGMT 237 at UPenn.

Ask a homework question - tutors are online