Acemoglu and Johnson on the need to control technological progress

I’m finally returning to this blog with a post on economics and technology. It’s not much of a post, but it does represent an end to a long period of neglect of the blog.

Daron Acemoglu and Simon Johnson have a new book out, Power and Progress, released yesterday. I just grabbed an ebook copy and started reading it. This post will be the first of a series in which I will record my reactions. Here is an excerpt from the end of the preface, to show the gist of the main argument in the book:

“We wrote this book to show that progress is never automatic. Today’s “progress” is again enriching a small group of entrepreneurs and investors, whereas most people are disempowered and benefit little.
A new, more inclusive vision of technology can emerge only if the basis of social power changes. This requires, as in the nineteenth century, the rise of counterarguments and organizations that can stand up to the conventional wisdom. Confronting the prevailing vision and wresting the direction of technology away from the control of a narrow elite may even be more difficult today than it was in nineteenth-century Britain and America. But it is no less essential.”

Excerpt From
Power and Progress
Daron Acemoglu & Simon Johnson

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