The Economic Perspective: “Comparing Breakthroughs”

Mary:  I’m Mary Walden with economist MW welcoming you to the economic perspective. Today’s program looks at comparing breakthroughs.  Mike, we live in a time of technological change that constantly bring us new products and applications.  Many say the world has never changed faster.  But others disagree.   Please evaluate the arguments.


Mike: Summary Answer

  • Hear comments like, today’s smart phone has more capability than the computers used on the moon launches
  • Or that information accessed on our phone or computer is more than at the standard library
  • But the contrary view says advances today aren’t fundamental changes – they build on past breakthroughs
  • These contrarians argue indoor plumbing, electricity, the first auto, the telephone, and air flight – all developed about 100 years ago – made more fundamental changes to life than anything done today
  • My personal favorites are indoor plumbing and electricity – time saved bring water from outside, and expansion of the day from electricity
  • I’m MW


Mary:  And I’m Mary Walden for the Economic Perspective, an NC State Extension program from the Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.