Summary of Paradoxes of Prosperity

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Diane Coyle, a consultant and columnist, presents an in-depth and optimistic look at modern capitalism. Dubbing our current age a transitional period, she predicts that the result of our recent bout of high-tech fueled economic growth will be even more growth and a better society. Coyle refers to historical parallels and many texts to make her case that technology has transformed society in significant ways that even experts are only beginning to understand. getAbstract.com recommends this compelling and authoritative book to executives and managers, and to serious readers and academics, all of whom will enjoy the way it makes sense of today’s contradictory financial and social developments.

About the Author

Diane Coyle, a consultant and columnist, specializes in business, technology and global economics. After getting her Ph.D. from Harvard, she spent a year at the U.S. Treasury and then worked in the private sector. As the Economics Editor for The Independent for eight years, she won the prestigious Wincott Award as a Senior Financial Journalist in 2000. She is Managing Director of Enlightenment Economics, a consultancy, and a Visiting Research Fellow at the London School of Economics’ Center for Economic Performance. Her two other books are The Weightless World and Governing the World Economy.

 

Summary

The Major Changes Due to Technology

When major technological change occurs, political upheavals result as a reflection of social disruption and the re-balancing of power. For example, capitalism and globalization have sparked widespread street protests in the U.S. and internationally. The protestors harbor a simplistic and flawed perception that growth is bad for most citizens and harms the poor. The opposite is true. While the disparity of wealth is vast and expanding, growth improves everyone’s living standards. In another example, techno-phobia is spreading virulently, but biotechnology has vast potential for good, particularly in defeating disease. Economic growth, in fact, generates improved health and reduced mortality rates.

A New Economy is emerging, despite the dot-com travails. This fundamentally changed economy will lead to shifts in society and politics. Ultimately, these changes will increase prosperity and transform our way of life, in parallel to previous periods of growth due to technological change, such as when the electric light, antibiotics and cars were developed. In the future, economic success will depend primarily on human capital, based on ...


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