Writing in Forbes, Alexander Tabarrok has written a cheerful essay on the long term outlook for world economic growth.
New ideas mean more growth, and even small changes in economic growth rates produce large economic and social benefits. At current income levels, with an inflation-adjusted growth rate of 3% per year, America’s real per capita gross domestic product would exceed $1 million per year in just over 100 years, more than 22 times higher than it is today. Growth like that could solve many problems.
It is good to see a whole-hearted, open and positive outlook for humanity. Much of the media’s reportage accentuates the negative, as bad news always sells. Even here at Samizdata.net, we spend much of our time chronicling the follies and evils of governments and handing out (well deserved) brickbats. But there is also plenty of reason to be cheerful too.
I would just add one caveat to Professor Tabarrok’s optimism. Long term economic growth requires a stable framework of liberty, peace and a consistently applied rule of law. The trend of events by governments in the last decade have not been positive on these metrics, and governments who think that they can erode the rights and liberties of their citizens without it having an economic impact in the long term are kidding themselves.