NC State Ag Economist Dr. Mike Walden – “What’s the Most Important Invention of All-Time?”


Mary:  This is Mary Walden with economist MW, welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at the most important invention of all-time. Mike, I’ve noticed you’ve been reading a new book about the 50 most important inventions.  Of course, we don’t have time to discuss all of them, but I’m curious about one invention.  I want to know which invention the author labeled as the very most important.

Mike:  Summary Answer


  1. Of course, a matter of opinion and debate
  2. But, according to the author of this new book, the most important invention was not the airplane, automobile, electricity, or computer
  3. Instead, the most important was – wait for the drumroll – the plow
  4. Author claims the plow transformed human life like nothing before or sense
  5. Prior to the plow, humans were hunter-gatherers – and spent the vast majority of their time just trying to feed themselves
  6. Plow revolutionized food growing – became more efficient and abundant
  7. Humans then had time to do and invent other things – in transportation, science, medicine
  8. Also living changed – cities grew up around farms
  9. And – to think about it – the plow established the way we live today – with farms feeding the cities where other inventions took place
  10. I’m MW

Mary: And I’m Mary Walden for N C State Extension