29. Launching the Innovation Renaissance by Alex Tabarrok

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29. Launching the Innovation Renaissance by Alex Tabarrok

Post  wmeisel on Sat Dec 17, 2011 7:06 pm

This is a Kindle single for $2.99; the author is Tyler Cowen's co-blogger (and co-author) at the blog Marginal Revolution.

I was surprised at how much I liked this. I usually consider Tabarrok to be a conservative/libertarian economist with whom I will have not much in common, but it was hard to argue with much of this. Tabarrok intends this book to be his solution to the problems that Cowen discusses in The Great Stagnation (which I reviewed previously.)

Tabarrok's solutions fall into five categories: Patent Reform and more use of Prizes, Better Teachers (with less teacher bashing than I expect to hear from a conservative), increasing STEM graduates while perhaps decreasing the total number of people going to college (providing vocational training instead), reforming immigration policies, dismantling what he calls the "warfare-welfare" state, and (of course) getting rid of regulations. Some of my notes from reading:

1. Tabarrok talks about the AMC commitment for vaccines, a prize that led to inexpensive vaccines within about a year. I had not heard about this before.

2. Tabarrok talks about how we pay physical education teachers the same as or more than math and science teachers and how maybe this is not such a great idea.

3. College has been oversold and is not for everyone. Do you really need a college degree to be a mail carrier?

4. His long chapter on the amount of money we (I would say waste) on warfare was quite interesting and not what I expected to read from someone on the other side of the aisle.

As always, my attempt at summarizing this book is not as good as the book itself. This is well worth spending a couple of hours reading. And, it is telling, that I expect almost nothing this book discusses to have even the remotest chance of being debated in Congress or by Presidential candidates.

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