Paul Romer, Senior Fellow in the Stanford Center for International Development (SCID) and the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEPR), has been working on an economic theory of history for the last two years. Stewart Brand of The Long Now Foundation sums up the theory as one that...
...explains phenomena such as the constant improvement of the human standard of living by looking primarily at just two forms of innovative ideas: technology and rules.
Technologies rearrange materials with ingenious recipes and formulas. More people create more technologies, which in turn generates more people. In recent decades technology has enabled the “demographic transition” which lowers birthrates and raises income per person even higher as population levels off.
Romer and the Long Now Foundation seem to be a good match. The foundation takes, as the name suggests, the long view--focusing on developing creative solutions to the challenges we'll all face in the next 10,000 years, and strives "to provide counterpoint to today's "faster/cheaper" mind set and promote "slower/better" thinking." Romer's economic theory of history allows for long range planning and major shifts in policy approaches to economic problems. In speaking at the Long Now Foundation, Romer put forward one modest proposal: create sustainable new cities in the developing world by reconstructing how we set up sovereignty, borders and citizenship:
Romer's presentation at The Long Now Foundation is said to be the first of a series. You can watch the full speech here.
07-07-2009 10:36 AM