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The Mismeasure of Technology

CAMBRIDGE – There is nothing better than fuzzy language to wreak havoc – or facilitate consensus. Ludwig Wittgenstein argued that philosophical puzzles are really just a consequence of the misuse of language. By contrast, the art of diplomacy is to find language that can hide disagreement.

One idea about which economists agree almost unanimously is that, beyond mineral wealth, the bulk of the huge income difference between rich and poor countries is attributable to neither capital nor education, but rather to “technology.” So what is technology?