Economists tend to think of technological change as a good thing. But, as Daron Acemoglu, and Simon Johnson highlight in their new book Power and Progress: Our Thousand-Year Struggle Over Technology and Prosperity, the path technological development takes has, for millennia, been linked with political power and to prevailing ideas of how to attain progress. And often the political and social milieu served to concentrate the gains from technological change to a privileged few.
Simon Johnson joins EconoFact Chats to discuss his new book, highlighting what the driving vision for technological progress has been over various periods of development, the broader social impact of inventions that come about, and whether technological progress can be made more responsive to broader societal needs.
Simon is the Ronald A. Kurtz Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He served as Chief Economist at the International Monetary Fund in 2007-08.