Lecture handout: Stagnation*
Activity: Transformative Innovations

Textbook Reading: Chapter 12 (Section 12.3; pp. 413-421)

Key readings:

Recommended audio:

I was saddened to learn recently that same amount of time had passed between the first human airplane flight and the first human spaceflight as between the first spaceflight and 2018 (see here).

Here is an example of a business model that sounds very high tech and contemporary… but originates from the 1930s!!

Here’s a photo of Lady Priscilla Norman on her electric scooter, taken in 1917!

Here is an interesting chart showing that something weird was happening in the mid 1970s:

The lecture provided some pessimistic views on transformative breakthroughs. But every now and then I notice the power of steady, incremental progress. For example:

Noah Smith has a nice Twitter thread on progress since 1970.

Learning Objectives: Understand the scholarly literature on the secular stagnation thesis