Robert Gordon argues that the inventions of the second
industrial revolution were the foundation for
American economic growth. Gordon shows how flows of people
into difficult rural America built a population base
which then took the opportunity to move on to urban settings: Houses, Food in supermarkets,
that supported increasing productivity and standard of living.
The deployment of nationwide networks: Rail, Road, Utilities;
terminating in the urban housing and work places allowing the workers to
leverage time saving goods and services, which helped grow
Gordon describes the concomitant transformation of:
health and the health
- Health insurance
and welfare services
Counter intuitively the constraints
introduced before and in the Great Depression and the demands of World War 2
provide the amplifiers that drive the inventions deeply and
fully into every aspect of the economy between 1940 and 1970
creating the exceptional growth and standard of living of post
rate of growth was limited until the shift of women
into the workplace and the full networking of
voice and data supported the Internet and World Wide Web
completed the third industrial revolution, but the effects were
muted by the narrow reach of the technologies.
The development of Big Data, Robots,
and Artificial Intelligence may support additional growth,
but Gordon is unconvinced because of the collapse of
the middle class.
Following our summary of Gordon's book RSS frames his arguments from
the perspective of complex adaptive system (CAS) theory.