ECONOMIC GROWTH has bestowed a remarkable bounty on citizens of the world's industrialized nations. If anything, the growth of real income per capita has been more rapid during the past half century for most developed and developing nations than it was in earlier periods. Can progress be sustained at anything like the rates experienced since World War II by nations near the technological frontier? Or will a retardation of growth be imposed by diminishing returns--if not on land and in using the earth's mineral products, then on investment and the technological innovations that enhance its productivity, or on the earth's ability to absorb the environmental byproducts of progress?
This book has emphasized technological change as the most crucial dynamic force leading to economic growth. A key question for the future, therefore, is whether a brisk pace of technological advance can be sustained. 1
There is a centuries-old tradition of gazing with wonder at recent technological achievements, surveying the difficulties that seem to