Re: Understanding Economic Growth

Peter C. McCluskey (
Mon, 1 Dec 1997 09:51:38 -0800

hanson@econ.Berkeley.EDU (Robin Hanson) writes:
>-- Per capita growth rates between nations have been highly divergent;
>The lower nation that catches up to the higher nation is the
>exception; typically the higher pulls away. The lowest nations now
>are about as low (in per capital income) as all nations were once.

How has the difference between the highest nations and the median
been changing? This seems more important for determining the risk that
we will be conquered by some other region that makes a major technological
My impression is that within areas that can afford to stay reasonably
up to date with most communication and transportation technologies,
that there should be a convergence of growth rates.

>-- Britain took off initially most likely due to strong social
>controls on birth rates, free markets, and a strong culture of
>hobby science. Even then the takeoff was very slow.

How could birth rate control contribute to growth?

On a loosely related note, I recommend Crosby's book The Measure
of Reality, which describes how European culture changed from an
almost purely qualitative view of the world in 1250 to a fairly
quantitative view in 1600, setting the stage for explosions of
technology and businesses.

Peter McCluskey          | caffeine   O   CH3            |            ||  | |      H3C   C   N
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