Re: poly: World Economic History

From: Robin Hanson <>
Date: Fri Jul 03 1998 - 10:48:22 PDT

Carl F. writes:
>>... And the model time is ~300,000 yrs, not 140,000 yrs.
>Actually, the crossover time is ill-constrained by the data.


>Maybe the size of the 'new economy' will also begin to slow down when it
>approaches some natural limit, and its fraction of the world GNP will
>stagnate. But will it have grown to a size where it is larger than the
>other economies put together? When you consider that Drexlerian nanotech
>could bring Internet-like speeds of innovation to the manufacture of
>physical objects, one can imagine the new economy growing to dwarf the old
>one. Or not. This whole 'new economy' thing is very speculative.

Nanotech seems a whole different growth mode than the internet. Without
nanotech, it's not obvious to me that the internet isn't more like
supertankers, growing until hitting limits set by the size of the
then-current world economy. Of course it's also not obvious that a
thoroughly digital world economy can't grow substantially faster.

My article giving some reasons for skepticism has been published at:
There's a place for open peer commentary there, but none has been offered.
I'd appreciate it if those of you with opinions on this would voice them

Robin Hanson
RWJF Health Policy Scholar, Sch. of Public Health 510-643-1884
140 Warren Hall, UC Berkeley, CA 94720-7360 FAX: 510-643-2627
Received on Fri Jul 3 17:54:25 1998

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