Andrew Leigh is in conversation with Brian Schmidt on Andrew's new book with Joshua Gans, Innovation + Equality: How to Create a Future That Is More Star Trek Than Terminator.
Is economic inequality the price we pay for innovation? The amazing technological advances of the last two decades-in such areas as artificial intelligence, genetics, and materials-have benefited society collectively and rewarded innovators handsomely: we get cool smartphones and technology moguls become billionaires. This contributes to a growing wealth gap; in the United States; the wealth controlled by the top 0.1 percent of households equals that of the bottom ninety percent. Is this the inevitable cost of an innovation-driven economy?
Joshua Gans and Andrew Leigh make the case that pursuing innovation does not mean giving up on equality-precisely the opposite. In this book, they outline ways that society can become both more entrepreneurial and more egalitarian.
All innovation entails uncertainty; there's no way to predict which new technologies will catch on. Therefore, Joshua Gans and Andrew Leigh argue, rather than betting on the future of particular professions, we should consider policies that embrace uncertainty and protect people from unfavourable outcomes. To this end, they suggest policies that promote both innovation and equality.