The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress

The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress

Joel Mokyr / Sep 20, 2019

The Lever of Riches Technological Creativity and Economic Progress In a world of supercomputers genetic engineering and fiber optics technological creativity is ever the key to economic success But why are some nations creative than others and why do some highly

  • Title: The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress
  • Author: Joel Mokyr
  • ISBN: 9780195074772
  • Page: 450
  • Format: Paperback
  • In a world of supercomputers, genetic engineering, and fiber optics, technological creativity is ever the key to economic success But why are some nations creative than others, and why do some highly innovative societies such as ancient China, or Britain in the industrial revolution pass into stagnation Beginning with a fascinating, concise history of technolIn a world of supercomputers, genetic engineering, and fiber optics, technological creativity is ever the key to economic success But why are some nations creative than others, and why do some highly innovative societies such as ancient China, or Britain in the industrial revolution pass into stagnation Beginning with a fascinating, concise history of technological progress, Mokyr sets the background for his analysis by tracing the major inventions and innovations that have transformed society since ancient Greece and Rome What emerges from this survey is often surprising the classical world, for instance, was largely barren of new technology, the relatively backward society of medieval Europe bristled with inventions, and the period between the Reformation and the Industrial Revolution was one of slow and unspectacular progress in technology, despite the tumultuous developments associated with the Voyages of Discovery and the Scientific Revolution.What were the causes of technological creativity Mokyr distinguishes between the relationship of inventors and their physical environment which determined their willingness to challenge nature and the social environment, which determined the openness to new ideas He discusses a long list of such factors, showing how they interact to help or hinder a nation s creativity, and then illustrates them by a number of detailed comparative studies, examining the differences between Europe and China, between classical antiquity and medieval Europe, and between Britain and the rest of Europe during the industrial revolution He examines such aspects as the role of the state the Chinese gave up a millennium wide lead in shipping to the Europeans, for example, when an Emperor banned large ocean going vessels , the impact of science, as well as religion, politics, and even nutrition He questions the importance of such commonly cited factors as the spill over benefits of war, the abundance of natural resources, life expectancy, and labor costs Today, an ever greater number of industrial economies are competing in the global market, locked in a struggle that revolves around technological ingenuity The Lever of Riches, with its keen analysis derived from a sweeping survey of creativity throughout history, offers telling insights into the question of how Western economies can maintain, and developing nations can unlock, their creative potential.

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    • Ä The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress || Â PDF Read by ß Joel Mokyr
      450 Joel Mokyr
    • thumbnail Title: Ä The Lever of Riches: Technological Creativity and Economic Progress || Â PDF Read by ß Joel Mokyr
      Posted by:Joel Mokyr
      Published :2018-012-26T14:06:24+00:00

    About "Joel Mokyr"

      • Joel Mokyr

        Joel Mokyr is a Netherlands born American Israeli economic historian He is the Robert H Strotz Professor of Arts and Sciences and professor of economics and history at Northwestern University, and Sackler Professor at the Eitan Berglas School of Economics at the University of Tel Aviv.


    481 Comments

    1. Where does innovation come from? Why were the classical civilizations able to flourish, create towering intellectual achievements in mathematics, law and philosophy, yet not develop much in the way of fundamentally new technology, nor particularly advance the standards of living of their people? Why was China able to lead the world for over a thousand years in new discoveries, then suddenly regress and involute, losing the most complex clock and best seafaring navy the world had seen? And how di [...]


    2. In a world of supercomputers, genetic engineering, and fiber optics, technological creativity is ever more the key to economic success. But why are some nations more creative than others, and why do some highly innovative societies--such as ancient China, or Britain in the industrial revolution--pass into stagnation?Beginning with a fascinating, concise history of technological progress, Mokyr sets the background for his analysis by tracing the major inventions and innovations that have transfor [...]


    3. An interesting book about relationship between technological inventions and their economical impacts. Roughly divided into three parts:- History of technological inventions (very compressed), - Analysis of inventions' economical impacts,- What is the possible mechanism behind it?In world history, there is one big question, namely: how did the West rise as technological powerhouse? Why did Renaissance happen in Italy, and Industrial Revolution take place in England? While nowadays taken for grant [...]


    4. I could not improve on the Jack’s excellent review of Joel Mokyr's The Lever of Riches. I will just add a few thoughts.In my judgment Prof. Mokyr appears to have underestimated the important and fundamental significance of the steam engine, the iconic invention of the Industrial Revolution. He noted its original use in pumping water out of coal mines, and that “it was the first economically useful transformation of thermal energy (heat) into kinetic energy (work).” (p. 85 of the paperback) [...]


    5. The first half, covering the history of technological progress through 1914, is fascinating. The other half lists all the theories that tried to explain technological creativity or lack of it, with pros and cons for each. Very interesting and readable book.


    6. Linking technology and progress just makes sense. Understanding why seems like a worth goal.But, my goodness, this book is slow and boring.Bailed


    7. A very thoughtful and well-written book about the factors which are responsible for helping and hindering technological advance. Mokyr does an excellent job of writing clearly about an issue which is extremely complex. Almost half of the book is devoted to a history of technological advance, from antiquity through the 19th century. This seemed excessive to me as I read it, but it is necessary to contextualize the examples which help make the analyses clear. Although Mokyr does dismiss some facto [...]


    8. A brief comparative history of technological progress (up to the 1990s) from an economic historian. In particular, why some societies are technically creative and why some are not. The part about Luddites is enlightening. The last chapter about how evolution framework maps to technological progress is a bit forced / dumb, best to skip it.


    9. Starts off a bit dry, but really gets interesting. I learned a lot of interesting details about our historical technological progress, especially the Industrial Revolution at a more detailed level.



    10. About "technological change"; thorough, detailed, accurate, logical, very well organized, and an easy read, if a bit dated a quarter century after its publication. The book revolves around "why did the Industrial Revolution happen in Great Britain and not somewhere else?". By way of background covers so much more though it's easy to forget that -- covers everything from the early Middle Ages through the 1980s, and all of the West; makes excursions into Rome, Greece, Islam, and China too.The "lif [...]


    11. I prefer the way Fernand Braudel treats the economic history of technical innovation. Found this to be a little narrow. But I wanted to read Mokyr's Gifts of Athena instead of this, which I suspect is a bit more broad in scope.


    12. An interesting reading, this book challenges some economic assumptions; for example, that there are no such thing as a free lunch. He argues that technological advancement spurred by creative innovation creates free lunch for the society through rising living standards.


    13. A classic look at the evolution of technology from an economic historians perspective. Engagingly written and erudite.



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