An interesting interview about the economics of long-term growth is available on the podcast, Econ Talk. (For those of you who don’t podcast, you can listen on your computer, or copy to your computer and then a CD to listen to in the car.)
The interview is with Paul Romer, professor at the Stanford Business School, who did path breaking work on growth theory, but is able to tell real-world stories that illustrate his theory. Here are a couple of gems from Romer, loosely transcribed:
The Soviet MIG was a good airplane, but the Soviet washing machine was not good. What’s the difference? The MIG was built for a competitive environment, where the product had to be as good as its Western counterpart. Soviet washing machines [and other consumer goods] had no competition, and were generally poorly designed and made.
Everybody wants growth, but nobody wants change.