Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations

The Discovery of
New Growth Theory

David Warsh

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January 15th

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"What The Double Helix did for biology, David Warsh's Knowledge and the Wealth of Nations does for economics."—Boston Globe


Economic Principles

Former Boston Globe columnist David Warsh writes the online newsletter Economic Principals. Warsh, graduatde of Harvard and began his career as a staff reporter for Keene Evening Standard in Keene, New Hampshire, then reported on the Vietnam War for Pacific Stars and Stripes and Newsweek.

Throughout the 1970s, he covered economics for Wall Street Journal and wrote a syndicated column for the Chicago Tribune before joining the staff of The Boston Globe from 1978 to 2002. A two-time winner of UCLA's Gerald Loeb Award for National Magazine Writing in 1977 and in 1989,[2] He was a Fellow of the American Academy in Berlin in 2004, receiving its J.P. Morgan International Prize in Finance Policy and Economics.[3]

In March 2002, Warsh's bi-weekly column in Forbes Magazine and The Boston Globe moved from print media to his own website Economic Principals, which he manages and writes. The focus of the website and his writing is "technical economics through the device of weekly profiles of various movers and shakers" as well as various short items. In 2012, the website had some 20,000 readers.

He is home-based in Somerville, Massachusetts and is a summer resident of Portage Point near Onekama, Michigan.

A stimulating and inviting tour of modern economics centered on the story of one of its most important breakthroughs. In 1980, the twenty-four-year-old graduate student Paul Romer tackled one of the oldest puzzles in economics. Eight years later he solved it. This book tells the story of what has come to be called the new growth theory: the paradox identified by Adam Smith more than two hundred years earlier, its disappearance and occasional resurfacing in the nineteenth century, the development of new technical tools in the twentieth century, and finally the student who could see further than his teachers.

Fascinating in its own right, new growth theory helps to explain dominant first-mover firms like IBM or Microsoft, underscores the value of intellectual property, and provides essential advice to those concerned with the expansion of the economy. Like James Gleick's Chaos or Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe, this revealing book takes us to the frontlines of scientific research; not since Robert Heilbroner's classic work The Worldly Philosophers have we had as attractive a glimpse of the essential science of economics.