October, 2015

Learning as an emergent, creative process

Book Review: A review essay on Joseph E. Stiglitz and Bruce C. Greenwald’s Creating a Learning Society
  • Christopher Coyne

    Associate Director, F. A. Hayek Program for Advanced Study in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics
  • Vipin Veetil

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In Creating a Learning Society, Joseph Stiglitz and Bruce Greenwald examine the role of knowledge in economic growth. They view economic growth as an impersonal and automatic phenomenon. The history of economic growth, however, suggests that it is a creative and personal process. We argue that the analytical framework deployed by Stiglitz and Greenwald is unsuited to study the creation of new products, new ways of doing things, and the discovery of new markets. While the questions Stigltiz and Greenwald ask are of fundamental importance, their analysis is neutered by the inability of their conceptual toolbox to grapple with creativity and novelty.