Thursday, December 01, 2005

Robert Fogel on Technological Acceleration and Economics

Here are a few excerpts from a very interesting interview with Robert Fogel who won the Nobel prize in economics in 1993. Fogel discusses, among other things, how accelerating technologies are influencing economics and human evolution. It seems to me that if he followed the logic of his own findings to their logical conclusions he would be a singularitarian. But, alas, he falls short of that title. Regardless, he is right on the money concerning many economic issues and I recommend reading the entire interview here at Tech Central Station.

Robert Fogel: Well it's based on a long history of improving knowledge. Your web page cites Simon Kuznets on this. The accumulation of knowledge is the basis for modern technology. Later on it becomes not just empirical knowledge, but also science which gives us theories about what to do. And these theories become increasingly effective guides to technological advance. But technological advance is the basis for all economic growth, including the derived growth that I referred to, as you will have technologies that improve productivity in agriculture. It's possible to improve human physiology so there is an interaction, a synergism.

Nick Schulz: Right, and you coin a term in this book called "techno-physio evolution."

Robert Fogel: Right.

Nick Schulz: Explain what that is and explain why it's important.

Robert Fogel: Well, it's the interaction between improvements in technology and improvements in human physiology. The average stature of adult males in Western Europe increased by close to a foot between 1864 and the present.

Nick Schulz: On the subject of techno-physio evolution, you say in the book that, "this evolution is likely to accelerate in this century." Why is that?

Robert Fogel: Well, first of all, our technology is accelerating.

Nick Schulz: How do you measure that? How do you know that it's accelerating?

Robert Fogel: Well in the book I give a diagram and show it visually. I have on the Y axis, the size of the population; and on the other axis, time. And I show the curve of population -- from about 1700 on, that curve becomes almost vertical on the scale that's shown in the book. And then along that scale, I put in scientific innovations. One of the points I make is that it took 4000 years to go from the invention of the plow to figuring out how to hitch a plow up to a horse. And it took 65 years to go from the first flight in a heavier-than-air machine to landing a man on the moon. Not only did that happen in such a short period of time, but over a billion people all over the world watched it happen. So we had communications revolution in a very short period of time. I could work out a precise metric but it wouldn't mean much. It wouldn't give you more information than that diagram does.


I believe that accelerated economic progress is a correllary of accelerated technological development. Already we have the knowledge and resources to lift the billions of humans in underdeveloped nations out of poverty. The problem is not a lack of knowledge or resources, but getting them to where they are needed and of applying them. The development of the computer, the Internet and modern communication devices together with improved search engines, electronic banking and financial transactions, automated trading, and immediate dissemination of news, opinion and advice will accelerate economic progress to levels never seen in history. Forget about China's 9% growth rate - prepare for growth rates of 15, 20 or more!

For more thoughts, see my website

By Blogger AT, at 1/12/05 23:08  

I couldn't agree with you more. I might add that once the economy is fully automated, espespecially at the nano level, and once we have mastered energy production and efficiency the word "capital" will have completely lost its meaning. I can only wonder what that will do to power relations, crime,war, and the very purpose of government. I expect this condition to ge achieved around 2030 or so. For that reason I tell everyone I know to invest heavily in index funds. Just imagine the return on that investment in just fifteen years or so. It kind of makes worrying about the national debt seem rediculous.

By Blogger Micah J. Glasser, at 2/12/05 00:55  

I just visited your sight. Its really cool. Thanks for the link. I'll be sure to take advantage of your forum and the other features.

By Blogger Micah J. Glasser, at 2/12/05 01:03  

For earrings, you would need ear posts or wires or clip-on bases. pandora shop For bracelets, you need memory wire or stretchy cord or beading wire and clasps. pandora charm For necklaces, memory wire or beading wire, clasps and perhaps pendants. The main reason for the increasing favor shown titanium pandora silver charms is that titanium body jewelry items are about half the weight of equivalent stainless steel items. In addition, titanium can be anodized and this creates a pandora bracelets marvelous variety of colors when contrasted with the single option of stainless steel’pandora bangles s silver appearance. But the markup is much higher. Although the stainless steels used contain some nickel, they don't release nickel salts into the body and therefore are highly pandora necklaces unlikely to lead to nickel contact dermatitis. Most stainless steel body jewelry items are electro-polished. This is a reasonably sophisticated surface finishing technique pandora beads which leaves the finished surface very smooth and free of pandora earrings any crevices or fissures. The result is a significantly higher surface integrity pandora sets which is ideal for body jewelry. Alternatively, titanium has recently pandora bracelet become very popular as a material for body jewelry. In fact, it is challenging stainless steel as the favored metal. A bead board is a good idea too. Its ruled tracks help you measure and lay out designs for pandora bracelet charms bracelets and necklaces; as well as to corral the beads you are working with at a given

By Blogger 每当遇见你, at 28/9/10 00:15  

This is great when it comes to buying cheap wholesale cocktail dresses to resell, but you also want to make sure you are getting items that are popular enough to resell to others at a great profit. In the promdressesol Signature prom gowns market the only way to do this is to keep yourself one step ahead of the fashion trends and be selling what all the fashionable women want to be wearing. cheap prom dresses 2011 the love affair with unique skin prom gowns continues. From stingray skin to crocodile, trendy women are clamoring to get their body on a authentic evening dresses made from a new and exotic skin this season.2011 tiffany evening dresses cheap prom dresses that Make a Statement Sometimes you want to be the center of attention.

By Blogger cherry, at 24/11/10 02:43  

"wholesale wedding dress
wedding dress design
custom wedding dress online
short and long evening dress
buy wedding dress
prom dresses
buy discounted wedding dresses online
extra large wedding dress
Evening Dresses 2011
Plus Size Wedding Gowns
black holiday girls dresses black holiday girls dresses
brown holiday girls dresses brown holiday girls dresses
burgundy holiday girls dresses burgundy holiday girls dresses
champagne holiday girls dresses champagne holiday girls dresses
daffodil holiday girls dresses daffodil holiday girls dresses
dark green holiday girls dresses dark green holiday girls dresses
fuchsia holiday girls dresses fuchsia holiday girls dresses
gold holiday girls dresses gold holiday girls dresses
grape holiday girls dresses grape holiday girls dresses
green holiday girls dresses green holiday girls dresses
ivory holiday girls dresses ivory holiday girls dresses
lavender holiday girls dresses lavender holiday girls dresses
lilac holiday girls dresses lilac holiday girls dresses
orange holiday girls dresses orange holiday girls dresses
pink holiday girls dresses pink holiday girls dresses"

By Blogger kellytang, at 11/10/11 21:54  

Post a Comment

<< Home