I would like to follow-up on my post Economics As Religion, but in order to do so, I need to further explain the "religion of Progress" which underpins economic faith.
A reader (lucaswheeler) brought up Christopher Lasch's essential book The True And Only Heaven — Progress And It's Critics, but was apparently unaware that I have written about or mentioned it in the past.
I doubt many of you will read it, but Lasch's exhaustive research should be required reading for anyone seeking to understand the world he or she lives in.
Another reader (Brian M.) sent me links to two TED Talks. These can be taken as required viewing, but must be seen through the lens of the religion of Progress to be understood properly. On April 25, 2013, TED sponsored a mini-debate.
Is America past its prime? Discuss with Robert Gordon and Erik Brynjolfsson in a live debate, Thursday at 4pm Eastern.Is job growth over in the United States? Will the future economy look anything like the past? Whither American innovation?
At TED2013, two economic experts aired radically opposing views. Watch their TED Talks, then join us for a live discussion with speakers Erik Brynjolfsson and Robert Gordon...
In fact, Robert Gordon and Erik Brynjolfsson do not have "radically opposed views" of the future. Both of them unquestioningly subscribe to the religion of Progress. Both refer again and again to the standard gods of the Progress pantheon—the awesome power of technological innovation, unbounded human ingenuity (cleverness), soaring productivity, and, above all, endless growth.
The difference which makes the debate possible is that the "pessimist" (the cautious optimist Gordon) sees "headwinds" to Progress, whereas the standard optimist (Brynjolfsson) does not. I will post about the religion of Progress on Monday, but today (and this weekend) you have the opportunity watch the videos before then.
Feel free to comment on these TED talks, or anything else. This is also an open thread.
Have a nice weekend.