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Where I come down is that no one knows how this great machine of progress got started and no one knows when or if it will end. You can draw a lot of analogies from history and look at trends, but the predictive value of it is squat. Mokyr says as much: "History is always a bad guide to the future and economic historians should avoid making predictions." But then he does so anyway, with arguments along the lines of: "Can new technology stop it? There is no doubt that it can, even if nobody can predict right now what shape that will take, and if collective action difficulties will actually make it realistic." "It seems plausible that the future, too, will create occupations we cannot imagine, let alone envisage." etc. "seems plausible" arguments are nice and interesting, but not very useful. My position is that the engine of innovation was arrived at by random variation within social systems (with a few necessary but not sufficient institutional conditions making it possible to begin with) and that we have no clue whether or not it will suddenly or eventually just stop, as we have no clue what precisely got it going in the first place.
To be fair to the TGS story, the relevant approach would be to compare these metrics to their equivalents in the prior period of the same length.
Toggle Commented Jul 25, 2012 on What Great Stagnation? at Coordination Problem
I'm surprised you didn't mention the Kling, Patterns of Sustainable Specialization and Trade/Recalculation story.
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Dec 13, 2011