THE most striking battle in modern business pits the techno-optimists against the techno-pessimists. The first group argues that the world is in the middle of a technology-driven renaissance. Tech CEOs compete with each other for superlatives. Business professors say that our only problem will be what to do with the people when the machines become super-intelligent. The pessimists retort that this is froth: a few firms may be doing wonderfully but the economy is stuck.
In “The Rise and Fall of American Growth”, published in January, Robert Gordon of Northwestern University argues that the IT revolution is a minor diversion compared with the inventions that accompanied the second industrial one—electricity, motor cars and aeroplanes—which changed lives profoundly.
Now a new book, “The Innovation Illusion” by Fredrik Erixon and Bjorn Weigel, presents a still more pessimistic vision.
Read more: Techno wars | The Economist