The Causes of Growth

2006-06-08

Robin Hanson writes:

The truth is that the artistic creations or intellectual insights we most admire for their striking "creativity" matter little for economic growth. Instead, most of the innovations that matter are the tiny changes we constantly make to the millions of procedures and methods we use. And changing these procedures does not require free-spirited self-expression. Instead, it is quite natural for people to constantly think about tiny changes to their procedures as they follow those procedures. In fact, we imagine far more such changes than we can afford to pursue.

What we lack is not more suggestions for change, but better ways to identify the most promising suggestions, and ways to encourage people to pass suggestions on to those who can best act on them. If the world has become more "creative" it is mostly because our social institutions do better at these tasks; bohemian self-expression has little to do with it.


Peter Saint-Andre > Journal