Plain and obvious truth here

\”The role of the private sector is critical because innovation at the technology frontier is quite different in nature from catching up technologically. It is not something that can be achieved through government planning.\”

That\’s about China but it applies everywhere.

The technological frontier is where, by definition, you don\’t know what\’s going to work, what\’s the best thing to do. So how can it be planned?

It\’s one of the critiques I\’ve got of Ha Joon Chang. He often uses the example of S. Korea but what he\’s talking about when he does is their period of catch up growth. It\’s not applicable to a country at that frontier. Doesn\’t stop people saying that he\’s arguing for planning in our economy though, does it?

4 thoughts on “Plain and obvious truth here”

  1. Like those who argue about various advantages of the Chinese system, whilst missing the main point.

    China is growing due to the relative lack of communist stupidity in comparison to the recent past.

  2. “Private research good. (so?) Public research bad.”

    What nonsense. I may not like the courageous / intrusive State but I do recognise the role government plays in fundamental research. Lasers, anyone? Anyone for privatising that uni where T Worstall earned a 2.1?

    There’s an interesting essay on shale gas over at The Father of Fracking was not Bob Mitchell (no oil company drills a well just for research purposes) but the US govt.

    Tim adds: Third actually. Amd yes, back in the 80s, the bloke who was running the place did try and raise the wind to privatise the LSE. He was going to put it into County Hall once the GLC was abolished.

  3. I don’t think that’s a legit criticism of Chang, but of hard-of-thinking people who don’t read him properly.

    His work focuses on what developing countries – those a long way behind the technology frontier – should do. And it makes a great deal of sense *for them*.

    Trying to apply it to the most developed economies is like trying to solve developed-world obesity by applying the methods used to solve third-world starvation: utterly stupid, but doesn’t devalue those methods when used in their proper situation.

  4. “Anyone for privatising that uni where T Worstall earned a 2.1?” What makes you think that British unis aren’t private? I’ll bet that you’ll find that it’s an educational charity operating under (I’m guessing) a Royal Charter.

    Tim adds: Not even sure about the Charter. The LSE ain’t a uni. U London grants the degrees.

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