WHAT IF THE ECONOMIC GROWTH SINCE 1750 WAS JUST LUCK? Much of the discussion of Professor Gordon’s views has focused on their implications for our future. But what you believe about the future says a lot about your view of history. The article by Benjamin Wallace-Wells begins: “What if everything weâ€™ve come to think of as American is predicated on a freak coincidence of economic history? And what if that coincidence has run its course?” This position is a direct challenge to a major group of economic historians who assert that ideas and institutions which encourage innovation are responsible for economic growth. I posted here in July, 2011 about Professors Joel Mokyr and Deirdre McCloskey, who believe that (as McCloskey quotes Mokyr):â€œâ€¦.the Industrial Revolution was the outgrowth of the social and intellectual foundations laid by the Enlightenment and the Scientific Revolution.â€ If your agree with Mokyr and McCloskey, then important technological changes and consequent economic growth should continue.
But maybe it was all luck….