Does innovation lead to prosperity for all?
The word 'innovation' has become the new mythical silver bullet to fix the world economy.

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Article Highlights

  • Without a doubt, exciting new technologies, including in robotics, 3-D printing, and gene therapy, are impressive.

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  • But will these innovative breakthroughs raise real income for average working families?

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  • The world's efforts at innovation are on a quality decline, they say, and so therefore is the world economy.

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Without a doubt, exciting new technologies, including in robotics, 3-D printing, and gene therapy, are impressive. Blood markers and the ability to reengineer genetic DNA have achieved fantastic breakthroughs. Nanotechnology and biotechnology have improved living standards significantly. In the future, machine-to-machine interfacing and the use of ultra-powerful quantum computing will know no bounds.

But will these innovative breakthroughs raise real income for average working families? The 1930s saw an outbreak of impressive technological progress. The Great Depression continued anyway.

The battle lines are drawn. Some theorists believe new technological innovations that lead to productivity increases are actually the economy's growth and job killers. They cite the fears of many families that someday their kids in the workforce could be replaced by a machine.

Others argue that the economy benefits from as many innovative startup jobs as possible. They stress evidence showing that a half million new tech startup jobs produce 2.5 million other new jobs.

Still others argue that there is not enough innovation. The world's efforts at innovation are on a quality decline, they say, and so therefore is the world economy.

Of course, "productivity," as the writer Adam Davidson puts it, "is a remarkable thing. Only through productivity growth can a wage-earner's quality of life improve." But are wage-earning families seeing the full benefits of today's revolution in innovation?

AEI's John Makin, James Pethokoukis, and Stan Veuger weigh in on this debate. Their contributions can be found in the PDF below.

Does innovation lead to prosperity for all? by American Enterprise Institute

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About the Author

 

John H.
Makin

 

James
Pethokoukis

 

Stan
Veuger

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