Mokyr 11

economics is based on the idea of balance, it doesn't handle ongoing change well

could we understand technological change by using as a parallel biological evolution?

Technology (and evolution) are path dependent

Mokyr is interested in the distinction between small improvements and radical changes, between improvements within an old technology and the emergence of a new technology.

What is needed for a macro-invention to survive?

Micro-inventions come from purposeful search for improvements, macro-inventions come from luck or genius
macro-inventions are less likely in complex interdependent systems
they tend to appear in clusters, once the system is already shaken up
or when the environment changes

Conclusion: technological progress should not be taken for granted
but technology has given us steady improvement in our material lives since the industrial revolution

technological progress is not inevitable in speed (it can slow way down) or in direction