Has American innovation peaked?

A few weeks back, I received an email from the Atlanta Fed outlining several news articles and presentations that interest those of us who nerd out (yes, that’s the technical terminology) on economic trends. I don’t always read these emails, but one sentence caught my eye. At three words, it was a question highlighted in bold that asked, quite simply, “Has innovation peaked?”

I felt a slight panic but a greater curiosity. Has innovation reached its pinnacle? Is 2013 the year in which we just call it quits? Will we never have another Da Vinci? Is Apple the best it gets?

I opted to read further about this thought-provoking topic, which led me to a presentation by Joel Mokyr of Northwestern University’s Departments of Economics and History. The presentation, entitled “Technology Then and Now: Why the Technopessimists are Wrong,” provided some context for the question at hand.

Rebekah Staples