In a nine-minute video, Swedish statistician Hans Rosling, who died in 2017, shows how dramatic the washing machine was to his family. It set her mother free to do other things, and her grandmother found it so appealing that she sat down and watched him do it. In one of my classes at the Naval Postgraduate School in the late 1990’s, I reported on the entry of women into the U.S. labor force after World War II. A particularly curious student asked me why this happened, and I pointed to a range of washing machines, dryers, automatic dishwashers, and labor-saving devices that spared time mainly for married women. I also mentioned a chapter in Robert Carroll’s great first book on Lyndon Johnson, The path to power. The chapter entitled “The Sad Irons” was about the incredible taxation of women in the highlands of Texas for washing laundry before electricity: drawing water from a well, burning wood for the stove, heating the stove to heat the water in mid-summer, and pressing the shirt to heat the iron. To keep it burning. The washing machine was a huge blessing for the family, especially for women.
This is David R. From Henderson, “What causes economic growth?” Defined conceptJune 16, 2002.
An example of a recent big breakthrough is Zoom. Zoom makes it much easier for large groups to communicate remotely. Last autumn, I gave a lecture in Washington where I asked about fifty listeners to raise their hands if they use a fair amount of zoom. Virtually every hand shoots in the air. I told them to raise their hand if they valued it. Almost every hand remained in the air.
In this regard about zoom, I did not put in the article, because it does not fit nicely, because I raised the zoom example. I was giving a talk with many Republican politicians and wanted to be a politician who was pro-free market but was turning my back on pro-immigration views during the negotiations at the time. I asked them if they knew how many times Eric Yuan, the creator of Zoom, had applied for immigration to the United States before finally getting permission. Of course they did not know. Why would they? I mentioned that it took him 9 attempts. I asked if any of them wanted it to be easy for her and people like her. Some of them have.
One last quote:
What has been particularly important for poor countries since World War II is a significant reduction in trade barriers. As free trade progresses, people produce items where they have comparative advantage and can buy other items from low-cost manufacturers in other countries. In “Does Trade Reform Drive Economic Growth? A Review of Recent Evidence,” in a 2019 PIIE survey, Dartmouth economist Douglas A. Irwin, arguably the leading trade economist in the United States, shows that between 1983 and 2009, developing countries dropped their average tariffs from about 35 percent to about 10 percent. Percent. He has reported on a number of studies, the answer to which is “Yes.” In a table of articles, Irwin cites studies that find anywhere from an increase of 1 percentage point in annual growth to a 2.7 percentage point increase in annual growth due to reduced trade barriers. Any one of these annual growths, over a decade, will lead to a big increase in economic prosperity.
Read the whole thing.