Quotation of the Day…

by Don Boudreaux on February 23, 2015

in Competition, Complexity & Emergence, Growth, History, Innovation, The Economy

… is from page 264 of Nathan Rosenberg’s and L.E. Birdzell, Jr.’s excellent 1986 book, How the West Grew Rich:

The long growth in scientific and technical knowledge could not have been transformed into continuing economic growth had Western society not enjoyed a social consensus that favored the everyday use of the products of innovation.  Also, the West allowed innovators a degree of freedom from political and religious interference that was unusual among major societies, if not unique.  The practical power to innovate was widely diffused – a diffusion made possible by another Western economic institution: the freedom to form new enterprises and change old ones, in whatever sizes and shapes seem best adapted to the task at hand.  And it was through its markets, which many economists regard as its most basic economic institution, that the West conferred great rewards on those who innovated successfully and penalized those who did not.

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