I remember a day quite some time ago—I think it must have been 2001 or so, when I was here for a conference and I looked at the display of one of these electronics shops and I saw thirty different brands of MP3 players. So I said okay, finally we got the breakthrough, now everybody uses it.
One of the ways that industrial revolutions are interesting to think about is that they look differently depending on how and where you see them from. They look different whether you see them from Europe or Asia or Africa. But regardless of time or place, economists and historians generally tend to look at industrial revolutions through the lens of innovation. And in my short talk today I want to encourage a different way of thinking about this.