Monday, January 25, 2010

2010: The Year of Innovation

Thomas Friedman issues the call, which should be shouted from the rooftops (NYT):
What the country needs most now is not more government stimulus, but more stimulation. We need to get millions of American kids, not just the geniuses, excited about innovation and entrepreneurship again. We need to make 2010 what Obama should have made 2009: the year of innovation, the year of making our pie bigger, the year of “Start-Up America.”

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The Coming Prosperity

Phil's (@auerswald) latest blog, "The Coming Prosperity" is up. Check it out. The précis:
In our lifetimes the majority of the world's population will join the global economy. This is not just a good thing. It is the biggest and best development in human history.

But progress toward global prosperity is not inevitable. The very magnitude of the changes already in process and those to come creates significant obstacles to their realization. The choices that each of us make will determine the extent and reach of the coming prosperity, and our part in it.

This blog, and a book I am writing by the same title, is about the coming prosperity and the opportunities it creates for each of us to make the most of humanity's moment.
Start with his lead post, The Coming Prosperity.

The Invention of Enterprise

The new edited volume by David S. Landes, Joel Mokyr, and William Baumol will be out next week. Most edited volumes aren't interesting, but this is a different story and fills a void. I haven't read it but it is self-recommending. The full title is: The Invention of Enterprise: Entrepreneurship from Ancient Mesopotamia to Modern Times, and it is part of the Kauffman Foundation Series on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. Pre-order now. Chapter 1 is available from Princeton University Press (pdf). Here is the table of contents and here is a brief abstract:

Whether hailed as heroes or cast as threats to social order, entrepreneurs--and their innovations--have had an enormous influence on the growth and prosperity of nations. The Invention of Enterprise gathers together, for the first time, leading economic historians to explore the entrepreneur's role in society from antiquity to the present. Addressing social and institutional influences from a historical context, each chapter examines entrepreneurship during a particular period and in an important geographic location.

The book chronicles the sweeping history of enterprise in Mesopotamia and Neo-Babylon; carries the reader through the Islamic Middle East; offers insights into the entrepreneurial history of China, Japan, and Colonial India; and describes the crucial role of the entrepreneur in innovative activity in Europe and the United States, from the medieval period to today. In considering the critical contributions of entrepreneurship, the authors discuss why entrepreneurial activities are not always productive and may even sabotage prosperity. They examine the institutions and restrictions that have enabled or impeded innovation, and the incentives for the adoption and dissemination of inventions. They also describe the wide variations in global entrepreneurial activity during different historical periods and the similarities in development, as well as entrepreneurship's role in economic growth. The book is filled with past examples and events that provide lessons for promoting and successfully pursuing contemporary entrepreneurship as a means of contributing to the welfare of society.