Techdirt Reading List: The Lever of Riches

from the it's-about-economic-progress dept

We’re back again with another in our weekly reading list posts of books we think our community will find interesting and thought provoking. Once again, buying the book via the Amazon links in this story also help support Techdirt.

This week we have another one that’s an older book, Joel Mokyr’s The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress from 1992. Mokyr is an absolutely wonderful economic historian, and the Lever of Riches is one of my favorite books by him. If you want to understand the history of technological process, you owe it to yourself to read some of Mokyr’s books — and this is a good place to start. I’ve reread it many times, and have taken tons of notes on little passages and amazing factoids from history, that often remind me that the thoughts and battles today around innovation often have historical precedents.

For example, we’ve often talked about things like “infinite goods” and using such things to expand knowledge and innovation. But I had no idea that such thoughts go back long in history. In “Lever of Riches,” I learned that Galileo himself once talked about how he hoped “in the invention of an infinitude of artifices which would allow us to enjoy without trouble the fruits of the earth and all its commodities.” I may be strange in that I really like books looking at the history of economics and innovation, but this one definitely tops my list of recommendations.

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Comments on “Techdirt Reading List: The Lever of Riches”

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1 Comment
Anonymous Coward says:

The paperback was published in 1992, the hardcover in 1990. Since the hardcover costs less, that version (which is not linked to from this page) would appear to be the better choice — assuming that Techdirt gets a sales commission on all versions.

That may not be the case, however. If I click the link and go to the PB version, then the HC version on Amazon’s site, the URL referral codes present on the PB page are no longer there. Upon returning to the original PB version page, all the codes previously present in the URL disappear.

For people who browse with the referer disabled and cookies turned off until ready to make an online purchase, that could potentially disrupt referral commissions. Just a guess, but it seems like people would need to buy the book immediately upon going to the provided link (and not wander around the Amazon site in a circular fashion).

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