THE APPROACH OF a new millennium affords an opportunity to contemplate long-term trends. No phenomenon in economic history is more striking than the difference between the past three centuries and the several thousand years that preceded them. Throughout recorded human history, scientific and technological knowledge advanced by fits and starts. But in Europe, roughly three centuries ago, a marked acceleration in the application of science and technology to agriculture, industry, transportation, and other fields of economic endeavor began. This trend was accompanied by dramatic changes in standards of material well- being. The turning point in these relationships is commonly associated with the first industrial revolution, though there were antecedents. 1
The long-run consequences of those changes can be assessed by attempting to measure, however imperfectly, growth in the quantity of goods and services available to the average citizen--that is, growth in what economists call real income per capita. 2 For the
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Publication information: Book title: New Perspectives on Economic Growth and Technological Innovation. Contributors: F. M. Scherer - Author. Publisher: Brookings Institution. Place of publication: Washington, DC. Publication year: 1999. Page number: 1.
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