“James Bessen is uniquely qualified to interpret technology issues, having both rich historical expertise and startup experience. I especially like the way he demystifies the concept of skills and questions the apotheosis of college diplomas and intellectual property rights. This is one of the most hopeful yet realistic books in years.”—Gavin Wright, author of Sharing the Prize: The Economics of the Civil Rights Revolution in the American South
“James Bessen’s provocative new book explores a critically important economic question: what is it that in some epochs, including today, severs the link between productivity growth and increases in the median wage? His answer, developed within a rich tapestry of historical narrative, focuses on the changing incentives faced by firms and individuals to invest in new skills and capabilities as technological systems are born, go through adolescence, and eventually mature. His analysis and policy recommendations offer many challenges to established ways of thinking.”—Alexander J. Field, author of A Great Leap Forward: 1930s Depression and US Economic Growth
(Alexander J. Field)
"Today everyone agrees that education is the key to wage growth. But what kind of education? In this enlightening and insightful book, James Bessen shows that economic history can provide some useful and surprising answers to this question."—Hal Varian, Chief Economist, Google
“James Bessen, an acute observer of economics and technology, thinks lags from learning-by-doing explain why the IT revolution hasn’t yet boosted wages. A fascinating hypothesis—and book.”—Eric S. Maskin, Nobel laureate in Economics
“Mr. Bessen sets out to refute the arguments of . . . techno-pessimists, relying on economic analysis and on a fresh reading of history.”—Tamar Jacoby, The Wall Street Journal
(Tamar Jacoby The Wall Street Journal
“This important book is well written, clearly argued, and makes numerous salient points regarding the interactions between technological change, skill attainment, and earnings.”—J.P. Jacobsen, Booklist
(J.P. Jacobsen Booklist
'Sometimes a book seems to fit so neatly with a reader’s own preconceptions that one does not know whether to say “well done” or be irritated that someone else got there first. This is one of those books. . . I can only concur: competence with emerging technology does not require a university diploma. But it does require an enabling environment.'—Andrew Hilton, Financial World.
(Andrew Hilton Financial World
About the Author
James Bessen, an economist, is a lecturer at Boston University Law School. He was founder and CEO of a software company that developed the first desktop publishing program.