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Paul Romer, “A Theory of History, with an Application”

by Stewart Brand on May 20th, 02009

Paul Romer

New Cities with New Rules

This talk was the first in a series of public discussions of an idea that Romer has been working on for two years.

His economic theory of history explains phenomena such as the constant improvement of the human standard of living by looking primarily at just two forms of innovative ideas: technology and rules.

Technologies rearrange materials with ingenious recipes and formulas. More people create more technologies, which in turn generates more people. In recent decades technology has enabled the “demographic transition” which lowers birthrates and raises income per person even higher as population levels off…

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