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:
“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.”
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“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.