The Economic Perspective: “The Transformation of Inventions”

Mary:    I’m Mary Walden with economist MW welcoming you to the economic perspective.  Today’s program looks at the transformation of inventions.  Mike, inventions are a key factor in advancing our society and standard of living.  In the 21st century, has the type of inventions we’re seeing changed?


Mike: Summary Answer

  • Most inventions relate people to products or services
  • One way to look at these is whether the invention moves people to products and services or moves products and services to people
  • In 20th century, key inventions were of the first type
  • Auto and airplane reduced time of moving people to products
  • These will continue in the 21st century – hydroloop and space travel, but more inventions will move products and services to people
  • All the remote technology we’ve been experiencing – working, education, medicine
  • Some futurists think the inventions that move things to people will increase
  • Big benefit – saves people time
  • 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.