Monday, February 19, 2007

Learning economics from The Beatles, lesson 2

The Beatles were most adept at ripping off various styles, from Buddy Holly to Bob Dylan to Harry Nilsson to you name it. Without these influences, The Beatles would be boring and unremarkable.

In the same way, the most successful economies have copied other successful economies. For instance, Scotland in the 17th century was among the poorest backwaters of Europe. In 1707 it unified with England and slowly adopted the English language. By 1800 Scotland was among the richest countries in Europe and a major center of the Enlightenment.

This is how globalization works. We trade with each other, we learn from each other, we copy each other, we recombine in unique ways, and we prosper as a result. We don't all become the same, as prosperity implies constant change in unpredictable ways. The Beatles didn't become mere copies, they became something entirely unique.

Here is the first lesson.


gerhardj said...

Doesn't say much for the concept of "intellectual property"

Will McBride said...

That's on the way... lesson 6 I believe.