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Tag Archives: Innovation

Quotation of the Day…

… is from a 2007 interview that Russ Roberts did with economist Paul Romer (who is a co-winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Economics): Russ Roberts: Do we really care if the television was invented in the United States versus Russia? Do we really care where the car was invented or where the next great breakthrough comes from? Does it matter? Paul Romer: No, we don’t and it’s a really good point to emphasize. People often use these national comparisons as if it’s a race where there’s...

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Economic Growth is Ultimately Not Explained by Physics

The physicist Michio Kaku was the keynote speaker at my son Thomas’s college graduation ceremony this past Saturday. Kaku’s talk inspired my most-recent column for AIER. A slice: I suspect that Kaku would reject my argument. Being a physicist, he sees a direct connection between the work of physicists and our ready access to televisions, cell phones, and MRI machines. But I suspect that Kaku misses the less scientifically breathtaking, but much more economically important, activities...

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Some Links

GMU Econ PhD candidates Jon Murphy and John Schuler have a new essay with a Coasean message at EconLib. Mark Perry points us to new research that further reveals the high costs to Americans of Tariff Man’s policy of punitively taxing Americans who purchase imports. Mike Munger smartly ponders our world of contracts. Wofford College economist Frank Machovec is among the great professors praised in today’s Wall Street Journal. Alan Reynolds exposes the incredibly shoddy reporting behind...

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Some Links

My Mercatus Center colleague Chuck Blahous warns that the U.S. Social Security system is verging on insolvency. A slice: Throughout the past decade, those seeking the presidency have focused their rhetoric more on what they wouldn’t do to repair Social Security’s finances than on what they would. Congress isn’t doing much better. Instead of charting a realistic path forward, every congressional Social Security proposal introduced this year would do one of two things: add a new parental...

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Some Links

My Mercatus Center colleague Adam Thierer eloquently decries the radicalization of criticisms of modern tech. A slice: In a recent white paper, my Mercatus Center colleague James Broughel and I cataloged the voluminous literature that documents the symbiotic connection between technological innovation, economic growth, and human flourishing. Decades of research by historians, political scientists, and economists reveals that technological innovation is a fundamental driver of long-term...

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Cleaned by Capitalism XL

It’s been a while since I last offered an example of a modern, every day product that makes our lives cleaner and more sanitary. I refer here not to the quotidian marvel that is an indoor flush urinal – with an automatic flush! (This one is in the Burlington, Vermont, airport.) Rather, I refer to the plastic liner with the brand name “Splash Hog.” This device reduces the splash – keeping men cleaner. This addition to our capitalist cleanliness is small. But the many such small additions...

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Some Links

Kevin Williamson writes wisely about the division of labor, trade, globalization, and change. A slice: At the other end of the economic spectrum, special vitriol is reserved for a new kind of division of labor: the casual “gig” work associated with firms such as Uber. This opportunistic work provides important income to many people who could not otherwise get it as conveniently, and it performs the important function of allowing people of more modest means to convert their property into...

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Some Links

Institute for Humane Studies president (and my former student) Emily Chamlee-Wright points out in today’s Washington Post that genuine communities are built on individualism. David Henderson offers evidence of growing American prosperity. Chelsea Follett celebrates how modernity saved her baby. Jacques Delacroix reveals the poverty of democratic socialism. (HT David Levey) A slice: The fastest way for a country to raise the official, numerical productivity of its workers is to put out of...

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Quotation of the Day…

… is from page 41 of James Piereson’s 2014 monograph, The Inequality Hoax: These three factors – innovation, migration toward emerging centers of wealth, and widening circles of trade – have been key elements of “golden ages” throughout history and especially in the modern age of capitalism. Comments

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Bonus Quotation of the Day…

… is from pages 2-3 of Deirdre McCloskey’s November 2018 paper “How Growth Happens: Liberalism, Innovism, and the Great Enrichment” (original emphasis): Hans Rosling, the late, great Swedish professor of public health, emphasized how little most people, even very well-informed people, know about the overwhelmingly good news 1800 to the present, or even 1960 to the present (e.g., falling birth rates, falling infant death rates, rising literacy). He surveyed people, in his various...

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