Economist Tyler Cowen talks of “strange kind of tech boom”.
American Enterprise Institute columnist James Pethokoukis published an conversation with economist and professor Tyler Cowen on “a very strange kind of technology boom” in healthcare and green energy improving human welfare without potentially affecting growth.
Cowen picks out breakthroughs tackling more viruses. Messenger RNA could deliver a potential vaccine for HIV/AIDS, while University of Oxford has followed its work on a covid-19 jab with one proving effective against malaria.
On “green energy” Cowen said “Again, you could be very optimistic about those, but the main thing they are doing is helping us avoid a catastrophe.
“So, they are boosting gross domestic product relative to a quite awful counterfactual of just continuing to burn coal and other fossil fuels. But I am not sure we will feel we have higher standards of living relative to what we were used to simply because there is a solar panel on your home.”
The impact of cheaper, cleaner, limitless energy and people living longer, healthier lives are two of the main drivers for human evolution and throw in unprecedented changes in information and communications technology and limitless capital for innovation and growth.
The impact will likely be significant, as discussed in late April’s GCV webinar with Alex McCracken from SVB in the main for creating spillover opportunities and as new ideas create more new ideas.
US President Joe Biden has called for a decline in US carbon levels to 50% to 52% below those of 2005 within nine years.
Investor Azeem Azhar, author of Exponential View blog, has also talked about a green golden age in his latest discussion thread from the US-led climate summit.
Even if – unlikely – the only benefit is upgrading century-old infrastructure and technology and keeping millions more people alive for unproductive jobs the world will still be a better place. The innovators and those who allocated capital to them will have done their work.