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Are we living in the middle of an Industrial Revolution?

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  • Joel Mokyr

Abstract

The concept of a new Industrial Revolution has recently become of great interest to general economists of all persuasions. For example, the New Growth Theory has placed renewed emphasis on the importance of technological change in modern economic growth, and a number of authors have suggested that we are entering a new period of technological advances that could profoundly affect the world economy. ; In an article based on comments at the Tenth District Monetary Policy Roundtable, Mr. Mokyr looks at the events of our time in relation to events of the British Industrial Revolution. He cautions that the temptation to look at the past to guide us in making predictions and policy recommendations should be resisted. Historical analogies often mislead as much as they instruct, and in technological progress, where change is unpredictable, cumulative, and irreversible, the analogies are more dangerous than anywhere.

Suggested Citation

  • Joel Mokyr, 1997. "Are we living in the middle of an Industrial Revolution?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II, pages 31-43.
  • Handle: RePEc:fip:fedker:y:1997:i:qii:p:31-43:n:v.82no.2
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    File URL: http://www.kansascityfed.org/publicat/econrev/pdf/2q97mokr.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Feinstein, Charles, 1988. "The Rise and Fall of the Williamson Curve," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 48(03), pages 699-729, September.
    2. Bennett T. McCallum, 1993. "Unit roots in macroeconomic time series: some critical issues," Economic Quarterly, Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond, issue Spr, pages 13-44.
    3. Crafts, N. F. R., 1995. "Exogenous or Endogenous Growth? The Industrial Revolution Reconsidered," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 55(04), pages 745-772, December.
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    Cited by:

    1. Robert J. Gordon, 2000. "Does the "New Economy" Measure Up to the Great Inventions of the Past?," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 14(4), pages 49-74, Fall.
    2. Andrea Szalavetz, 2001. "The structural and regional implications of the new economy in transition economies," IWE Working Papers 113, Institute for World Economics - Centre for Economic and Regional Studies- Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
    3. Joseph H. Haimowitz, 1998. "Has the surge in computer spending fundamentally changed the economy?," Economic Review, Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City, issue Q II, pages 27-42.
    4. Wolfgang Gerstenberger & Klaus-Heiner Röhl & Heinz Schmalholz & Andrea Szalavetz & Michaela Fuchs, 2003. "Analyse der außenwirtschaftlichen Beziehungen zwischen Ungarn und Sachsen/Ostdeutschland : Kooperationspotenziale im Bereich der Informations- und Kommunikationswirtschaft ; Gutachten im Auftrag des S," ifo Dresden Studien, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, number 34, October.

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