Monday, June 16, 2014

The WSJ notes that Gordon and Mokyr disagree about the prospects for growth

Economists Debate: Has All the Important Stuff Already Been Invented? Northwestern University Colleagues Have Opposing Views of 21st Century Economy

"Robert Gordon, a curmudgeonly 73-year-old economist, believes our best days are over. After a century of life-changing innovations that spurred growth, he says, human progress is slowing to a crawl.

"Joel Mokyr, a cheerful 67-year-old economist, imagines a coming age of new inventions, including gene therapies to prolong our life span and miracle seeds that can feed the world without fertilizers.
"When Mr. Mokyr described life-prolonging medical advances, Mr. Gordon cut in: "Extending life without curing Alzheimer's means people who can walk but can't think."
""Bob says the low-hanging fruit has been picked, because we won't invent indoor plumbing again," Mr. Mokyr said. In speeches, Mr. Gordon often displays images of a flush toilet and iPhone and asks: Which would you give up?"

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