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The Paradox of Wealth and the End of History Illusion
Old 02-18-2014, 10:43 PM   #1
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The Paradox of Wealth and the End of History Illusion

Interesting recent Bernstein paper from last year

The Paradox of Wealth and the End of History Illusion
http://larrysiegeldotorg.files.wordp...-formatted.pdf

As an answer to the doom and gloomers he gives a fascinating historical view of the global economy, but he also points out that as things improve, returns drop.

I see it's a year old, but I don't know if it was discussed here? I ran across it recently at M*.
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Old 02-18-2014, 11:41 PM   #2
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A very good article, with an interesting perspective. Thanks for posting it.

I liked the list of the four essential institutions for economic prosperity. I wonder, though, about the authors claim that all four are continuing to ascend, in particular property rights. I think about the rise of government sponsored capitalism in places like China, and I see the massive growth of government in the USA. I guess I am not sure if these trends will have a positive impact on property rights.
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Old 02-19-2014, 06:32 AM   #3
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Thanks for putting up the link, I hadn't read it and I (almost) always enjoy reading Dr Bernstein's thoughts. Humans will probably always grapple with uncertainty poorly, good thing even the 'best and brightest' have gotten it wrong for centuries.
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Old 02-19-2014, 08:09 AM   #4
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Very good article. Here is the paragraph that most resonated with me:

"Gordon, in fact, makes a classic heuristic mistake, conflating that which cannot be conceived with that which is not possible. Technological breakthroughs, almost by definition, cannot be conceived of, since if they could be, they would already have been invented; it is as difficult for us to conceive of the shape of communication transportation, and energy technologies a century hence as it was for the average world citizen of 1900 to conceive of modern jet transport, the Internet, and the prosperity that these would impart."

I am a technological optimist which is why I believe "peak oil" is likely a short term worry but not a long term impediment. I also suspect that we will be able to engineer our way to accommodations to climate change, albeit with some awful impacts on some. If the doom amd gloomers are right it doesn't seem like there is any rational response for the rest of us -- we are toast. For example, with climate change, if we can't come up with technological adaptations it seems like we are thoroughly f'd since we are allegedly already past the point of conserving our way out of the problem.
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Old 02-19-2014, 09:02 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
Very good article. Here is the paragraph that most resonated with me:

"Gordon, in fact, makes a classic heuristic mistake, conflating that which cannot be conceived with that which is not possible. Technological breakthroughs, almost by definition, cannot be conceived of, since if they could be, they would already have been invented; it is as difficult for us to conceive of the shape of communication transportation, and energy technologies a century hence as it was for the average world citizen of 1900 to conceive of modern jet transport, the Internet, and the prosperity that these would impart."

I am a technological optimist which is why I believe "peak oil" is likely a short term worry but not a long term impediment. I also suspect that we will be able to engineer our way to accommodations to climate change, albeit with some awful impacts on some. If the doom amd gloomers are right it doesn't seem like there is any rational response for the rest of us -- we are toast. For example, with climate change, if we can't come up with technological adaptations it seems like we are thoroughly f'd since we are allegedly already past the point of conserving our way out of the problem.
We will do the right thing, after all other avenues have been explored...
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:01 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by donheff View Post
Very good article. Here is the paragraph that most resonated with me:

"Gordon, in fact, makes a classic heuristic mistake, conflating that which cannot be conceived with that which is not possible. Technological breakthroughs, almost by definition, cannot be conceived of, since if they could be, they would already have been invented; it is as difficult for us to conceive of the shape of communication transportation, and energy technologies a century hence as it was for the average world citizen of 1900 to conceive of modern jet transport, the Internet, and the prosperity that these would impart."

I am a technological optimist which is why I believe "peak oil" is likely a short term worry but not a long term impediment. I also suspect that we will be able to engineer our way to accommodations to climate change, albeit with some awful impacts on some. If the doom amd gloomers are right it doesn't seem like there is any rational response for the rest of us -- we are toast. For example, with climate change, if we can't come up with technological adaptations it seems like we are thoroughly f'd since we are allegedly already past the point of conserving our way out of the problem.
I'm on the same page with you. The next decade will most likely see some fabulous technological inventions that no one can see at present. And it is very possible that some of those inventions can reverse (or at least moderate) climate change. Could anyone in the 1950's have believed that in less than 20 years a man would be walking on the moon??
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Old 02-19-2014, 02:28 PM   #7
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I'm on the same page with you. The next decade will most likely see some fabulous technological inventions that no one can see at present. And it is very possible that some of those inventions can reverse (or at least moderate) climate change. Could anyone in the 1950's have believed that in less than 20 years a man would be walking on the moon??
I am with you on technological change, I think it will more likely accelerate than slow down. When we landed on the moon no one could have predicted personal computers or the internet. On the other hand, in 1972 could anyone have imagined that no one would step foot on the moon again for over 41 years and counting, or that the next country to do it might likely be the People's Republic of China?
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