LEVER OF RICHES – Joel Mokyr

Today, an ever greater number of industrial economies are competing in the global market, locked in a struggle that revolves around technological ingenuity. The Lever of Riches, with its keen analysis derived from a sweeping survey of creativity throughout history, offers telling insights into the question of how Western economies can maintain, and developing nations can unlock, their creative potential. See book at https://www.amazon.com/Lever-Riches-Technological-Creativity-Economic/dp/0195074777

# The difference between rich nations and poor nations is not, as Ernest Hemingway said, that the rich have more money than the poor, but that rich nationsproduce more goods and services. One reason they can do so is because their technology is better; that is, their ability to control and manipulate nature and people for productive ends is superior.

#Countries grow  by : 1-investment (saving increasing to be spent later) 2- commercial expansion (property rights or less costs of doing business 3. increase human knowledge, tech progress and institional change

#” it would be incorrect to infer in such a case that population growth causes economic growth ”

#There is a rich tradition among economists interested in technological change distinguishing between invention and innovation. Schumpeter pointed out that invention does not imply innovation, and that it was innovation that provided capitalism with its dynamic elements. Invention, by that logic, is in itself of limited interest to economists.Ruttan (1971, p. 83) has proposed more or less to abandon the concept of invention altogether and regard it merely as an “institutionally defined subset of technical innovation.”

# “Without invention, innovation will eventually slow down and grind to a halt, and the stationary state will obtain. Without innovation, inventors will lack focus and have little economic incentive to pursue new ideas.”

# For society to be inventive i- stock of entrepreneurs ii- institutions to allow them to  flourish iii- diversity and tolerance

# Romans discovery of cement masonry was called by forbes (1958b, p. 73) “the only great discovery that can be ascribed to the Romans.”

#”Aristotle wrote in his Politics that “no man can practice virtue who is living the life of a mechanic or laborer.”

#Between 1740 and 1780 the (UK) government paid out 6.8 million livres to inventors in subsidies and interest-free loans. The policy of encouraging invention may have been inconsistent and sometimes corrupt, but it did provide an incentive similar to a patent system.11 (france)

# Joseph Whitworth, in his 1854 report on the differences between American and British manufacturing, emphasized that British workers were far more hostile to new technology than American workers, because they were more skilled, better organized, and less mobile (Rosenberg, ed., 1969). The installation of a sewing machine was prohibited in the center of the shoemaking industry, Northampton, after three strikes against it in the late 1850s, and new machinery was successfully kept out in some centers of carpetmaking, printing, glassmaking, and metalworking where resistance was stiff (Samuel, 1977, pp. 9–10, 33).

 

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