Thursday, July 16, 2009

Innovations can generate jobs—if they materialize. For instance, in 2003 a quarter of American workers were in jobs that weren't listed in the Census Bureau's occupation codes in 1967. You sure won't find words like "Web designer" or "mobile-phone salesperson" in the LBJ-era list.

"What's unpredictable are the physical gizmos that will trigger a multiplier effect with employment," says Amar Bhide, visiting professor of economics at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. Daniel Boorstin, the late historian, captured the dynamic this way in a 1987 essay: "Who, for example, could have predicted that the internal-combustion engine and the automobile would breed a new world of installment buying, credit cards, franchises, and annual models—that they would revise the meaning of cities, and even transform notions of crime and morality with no-fault insurance."

Problem is, no one can say whether such innovations will appear.

From Business Week

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