In Praise Of Exuberant Growth: Finding That Free Lunch
from the the-economics-of-innovation dept
Business Week is running a long excerpt from a new book about the economics of innovation (tragically, Business Week believes that they need to make people click through a ridiculous number of screens to read the whole thing, when having a “single page view” would make much more sense for those of us who hate clicking over and over again and just want to read the damn article). The book is called Rational Exuberance : Silencing the Enemies of Growth and Why the Future Is Better Than You Think and it talks about how risk taking and exuberant growth from innovation helps expand the economy and help so many people increase their standard of living. Considering the focus these days on people who seem more worried about how growth can destroy their jobs, this is a refreshing change. It’s a reminder that the economy is not a zero sum game – and innovation helps to expand the overall pie, rather than just shift the pieces around. One of the most interesting ideas in the excerpt is to just look around at how many jobs there are today that were completely unavailable (or even unimaginable) 100 years ago. In fact, you could even make the same argument for ten years ago as compared to today. Even more important is realizing that not all of the job creation is directly attributable to the innovation, but often indirectly. For example, the article points out that massive amusement parks like Disney World in Orlando, Florida wouldn’t have made sense without the innovation of commercial airline travel. When people today insist that their can be no new types of jobs in the future if our jobs are offshored or automated, just think how many jobs were created over the last hundred years for people who felt the same way, and realize that the pace of innovation, our “rational exuberance” hasn’t slowed down.