What drives an economy in the very long run?

Just a few weeks ago, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced the decision to award this year’s Nobel Prize in Economics to Paul Romer for integrating technological change into macroeconomic analysis. That’s a good reason for thinking through the long-term history of innovative activity, for investigating how technological change itself changed over time, and what the future might hold for us.

Seeing possibilities

At a global scale, how do you perceive the path of mankind? Getting better? Getting worse? Getting nowhere? Listening to our instincts, we are inclined to hold a gloomy, even bleak view of the current state and our future prospects. But is such pessimism at all justified? Should we rely on our guts? And what do the facts tell us? The big trends that shape the development of populations and define their health and wealth, these drivers of societal progress are the focus of Hans Rosling’s lifelong mission as a public health practitioner, researcher, and teacher.

The entrepreneurial mind – upgrade

We live in a VUCA world: it’s volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous. These global conditions are the same for everybody, for every organisation. But different types of organisations show different kinds of responses to these circumstances, in particular in the business world. While small entities like start-ups seek to draw their competitive advantage from agility […]

The risks of economic narrow-mindedness

It is all too tempting to judge an economy’s health simply by its growth rate. No big wonder then that many economic policies are devised with growth as their only goal. However, this approach grossly simplifies the complexity of an economy’s inner workings. Rather than searching for the one perfect signal of economic success, we should take the opposite angle and try to understand what could go wrong. Today, I’ll offer a more detailed sketch of this concept to illustrate how our own economic narrow-mindedness makes us susceptible to economic failure, i.e., how a singular focus on growth blinds us for many important aspects of economic health.

How economies fail – More from Jane Jacobs

How do you know that an economy is healthy? The standard answer to this seemingly simple question is: It grows! While growth is an important hint at economic success, making it the only indicator would be far too simplistic. But instead of searching for the one perfect signal of economic success, I suggest a comprehensive review of the different ways for an economy to fail: acknowleding what can go wrong in an economy thus becomes the starting point for a more nuanced and realistic picture of economic health. Today, I want to frame such a picture.