The Innovation Fetish among the <i>Economoi</i>: Introduction to the Panel on Innovation Incentives, Institutions, and Economic Growth

Paul A. David

in The Rate and Direction of Inventive Activity Revisited

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780226473031
Published online February 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226473062 | DOI:
The Innovation Fetish among the Economoi: Introduction to the Panel on Innovation Incentives, Institutions, and Economic Growth

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This chapter focuses on the remarks of the underlying (though often implicit) assumption among economists that a higher rate of innovation is almost always preferred. The social impact of technological change depends not only on innovation but on diffusion. The ultimate impact of research investments depends on how they are organized and the complex process by which technologies are improved and adapted over time and context. Without considering the dynamic process by which social systems adapt and incorporate technological change, it is difficult to consider the net impact of new technologies on human welfare. The innovation fetish grips its adherents—and particularly those among the economoi who avow special concerns with technological change and its impact upon economic growth and human welfare—with an unreasonable degree of attention to, and particular reverence for, acts of commercial implementation of new processes and products, organizational practices, and business models.

Keywords: innovation fetish; economoi; incentives; institutions; economic growth; technological change

Chapter.  2862 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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