Here’s a common objection to the logic behind the proposal for building charter cities in poor host countries:
If investment in urban infrastructure can really generate win-win benefits for investors and residents of poor countries, why isn’t it happening already? Continue reading “Why Isn’t Investment Already Taking Place?”
For each of us, other people truly are (to borrow a phrase from Julian Simon) the ultimate resource. Rules matter because they determine whether we reach our collective potential. Bad rules divide us and diminish us. Good rules free us to collaborate and grow. Continue reading “Rules Change: North vs. South Korea”
The distinction between objects and ideas is arguably the most important in economics. In a world with more people, each person has fewer objects but access to more ideas. So far, the benefit we derive from access to more ideas has far outweighed the disadvantage of fewer objects. Continue reading “Fish Proverb v2.0 (Bringing in Rules)”
As you’d expect from the name, a charter city is a city governed by a charter. Sounds simple, but it’s a surprisingly powerful way to let people choose to move someplace that is well governed. Continue reading “A Charter City in Cuba?”
Several people have asked me for a link to the site with the high resolution NASA photo of the world at night. I’ve used this picture in several presentations to illustrate geographic variation in the level of economic activity. It is revealing to zoom in on specific regions and countries. Continue reading “Map Showing the World’s Lights At Night”
How can a struggling country break out of poverty if it’s trapped in a system of bad rules? Economist Paul Romer unveils a bold idea: “charter cities,” city-scale administrative zones governed by a coalition of nations. (Could Guantánamo Bay become the next Hong Kong?)
Technologies rearrange materials with ingenious recipes and formulas. More people create more technologies, which in turn generates more people. In recent decades technology has enabled the “demographic transition” which lowers birthrates and raises income per person even higher as population levels off. The talk below is the first in a series of public discussions around the economic theory of history which explains phenomena such as the constant improvement of the human standard of living by looking primarily at just two forms of innovative ideas: technology and rules. Watch the full video below:
Paul Romer: A Theory of History, with an Application from The Long Now Foundation on FORA.tv
“The hero of the second half of Mr Warsh’s book is Paul Romer, of Stanford University, who took up the challenge ducked by Mr Solow. If technological progress dictates economic growth, what kind of economics governs technological advance? In a series of papers, culminating in an article in the Journal of Political Economy in 1990, Mr Romer tried to make technology “endogenous”, to explain it within the terms of his model. In doing so, he steered growth theory out of the comfortable cul-de-sac in which Mr Solow had so neatly parked it.”
Click here to read the full article.
“How do you weigh the economic benefit of the thoughts in Bill Gates’ head? The sand on a beach can be measured, but how do you calibrate the value of the idea that turned those silica grains into silicon microchips? Though they sound like questions from a Mensa parlor game, they’re actually from the work of economist Paul Romer, and his answers may just revolutionize the study of economics. A sage for the silicon age, Romer is upgrading the dismal science to keep pace with the digital revolution.”
Click here to read the full article in which Paul Romer is name one of Time’s 25 most influential Americans.
“Ideas are different. Ideas have special properties,” Romer says. While things such as land, machinery and capital are scarce, Romer argues that ideas and knowledge build on each other and can be reproduced cheaply or at no cost at all. In other words, ideas don’t obey the law of diminishing returns – where adding more inputs like labor, machinery or money eventually results in the trailing away of additional output.”
Click here to read the full article by Bernard Wysocki Jr.