The Power of Creative Destruction: Economic Upheaval and the Wealth of Nations | Philippe Aghion - Céline Antonin - Simon Bunel
Philippe Aghion Céline Antonin Simon Bunel Free Enterprise & Capitalism Income Inequality Business Ethics Economic Conditions Free Enterprise Economic History Economics Business & Money Foreign Affairs Best Book of the Year Economist Best Book of the Year
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From one of the world’s leading economists and his coauthors, a cutting-edge analysis of what drives economic growth and a blueprint for prosperity under capitalism.
Crisis seems to follow crisis. Inequality is rising, growth is stagnant, the environment is suffering, and the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed every crack in the system. We hear more and more calls for radical change, even the overthrow of capitalism. But the answer to our problems is not revolution. The answer is to create a better capitalism by understanding and harnessing the power of creative destruction―innovation that disrupts, but that over the past two hundred years has also lifted societies to previously unimagined prosperity.
To explain, Philippe Aghion, Céline Antonin, and Simon Bunel draw on cutting-edge theory and evidence to examine today’s most fundamental economic questions, including the roots of growth and inequality, competition and globalization, the determinants of health and happiness, technological revolutions, secular stagnation, middle-income traps, climate change, and how to recover from economic shocks. They show that we owe our modern standard of living to innovations enabled by free-market capitalism. But we also need state intervention with the appropriate checks and balances to simultaneously foster ongoing economic creativity, manage the social disruption that innovation leaves in its wake, and ensure that yesterday’s superstar innovators don’t pull the ladder up after them to thwart tomorrow’s. A powerful and ambitious reappraisal of the foundations of economic success and a blueprint for change, The Power of Creative Destruction shows that a fair and prosperous future is ultimately ours to make.
“Sweeping, authoritative and―for the times―strikingly upbeat…The overall argument is compelling and, with creative destruction falling out of political favor, it carries a trace of Schumpeterian subversion.”―The Economist
“[An] important book…[It] is lucid, empirically grounded, wide-ranging, and well-argued…Schumpeter himself feared capitalism would perish. So far, he seems to have been wrong. Another possibility is that democracy will die, as plutocracy allies with demagoguery. Either way, the civilizations of the contemporary high-income democracies would perish. By promoting a better understanding, this book could, with wisdom and luck, help us avoid that fate.”―Martin Wolf, Financial Times
“Successfully navigating the supply chain disruptions created by COVID-19 requires strong political leaders to implement smart policies, but not leaders so strong that they can suppress organizational innovations that will disfavor them or their allies. The authors explain these dynamics and more in an eminently accessible fashion.”―Barry Eichengreen, Foreign Affairs
“Marvelous…Consistently thoughtful and, in its way, fearless. In The Power of Creative Destruction, readers will find much that transcends the facile arguments and moral posturing that too often characterizes today’s economic debates.”―Milton Ezrati, City Journal
“[A] rigorous education in the economics of innovation…Extend[s] economic analysis to illuminate a wide range of contemporary political and cultural issues.”―William H. Janeway, Project Syndicate
“An impressive study…It convinces, to my mind, on what the path to a better world, with less inequality, injustice, environmental catastrophe might look like.”―Bridget Rosewell, Society of Professional Economists
“An important book for the times…The authors succinctly connect politics to economics and argue that ‘Innovation Needs Democracy.’…To paraphrase a quote referring to Keynes, another famous economist, this book may convince readers that we should all be Schumpeterians now.”―Craig R. Roach, New York Journal of Books
“Philippe Aghion is one of the founders of the new growth theory focused on the origins and implications of technological progress. This book, based on thirty years of research, shows the richness and usefulness of this approach. It is a fundamental document for thinking about the nature of growth, industrial policy, and the organization of the labor market.”―Olivier Blanchard, Peterson Institute for International Economics and former Chief Economist, International Monetary Fund
“Accelerating technological change, global warming, pandemics, individual and national stagnation, over-indebtedness: this century decidedly provokes anxiety. Armed with legitimate concerns, anti-globalization protestors and neo-Luddites look inwards and denigrate innovation. The Power of Creative Destruction offers another vision, more persuasive and based on the innovation that creates wealth and jobs. Philippe Aghion, Céline Antonin, and Simon Bunel dismantle contemporary myths about such economic phenomena as secular stagnation and the impact of automation on employment. They show the need for competition and the fight against rents. They advocate a regulated capitalism that will allow us to keep society prosperous and the planet green. They explain, in short, how to manage the creative destruction that over the past two centuries has brought to our society a previously unimaginable prosperity. Provocative and rigorous, this book is an important milestone in our reflections on the future of our societies. A must-read.”―Jean Tirole, Nobel Laureate, Toulouse School of Economics
“Offers Americans much needed insight into the sources of economic growth and the kinds of policies that will promote it…All in Washington would do well to read this volume carefully.”―Milton Ezrati, Forbes
“The term ‘creative destruction’ expresses a contradiction at the core of capitalism; creation brings innovation, growth, and prosperity while the destruction that it demands engenders resistance and stagnation. Philippe Aghion, Céline Antonin, and Simon Bunel are the leaders in exploring and understanding this story of action and reaction. Their insights are essential if policy is to restore growth in today’s faltering capitalism.”―Angus Deaton, Nobel Laureate in Economic Sciences
“Anyone curious about where modern capitalism is going and whether economic growth can be sustained should read this book. In accessible prose, based on cutting-edge economic analysis, the authors dissect the dynamics of the modern economies. They show brilliantly how capitalism in the twenty-first century is indeed as creative as it is destructive, and how innovation will affect modern economies and hence the life of every human on the planet, for better and for worse. Deeply researched and intelligently written, this is a genuine tour de force.”―Joel Mokyr, Northwestern University
“Philippe Aghion has been the leader of modern growth theory for the last three decades. He has shown that innovation and disruption, Schumpeter’s creative destruction, are at the heart of the productivity and power of a capitalist economy. In this book that story is clearly and compellingly told, but now he and his colleagues go still deeper into the kind of society we want to build, whilst keeping the power of creative destruction. We really can create a prosperous future which brings a supportive community and social cohesion, and a much better environment, climate, and biodiversity. This fine and crucially important book is ultimately optimistic about what we can do, but challenges us as to whether we will.”―Nicholas Stern, London School of Economics
“The authors…argue that the socioeconomic problems revealed during the global pandemic―welfare, health, inequality, and many others―will not be fixed by abolishing capitalism but rather by inventing a better capitalism through the power of creative destruction, which they define as innovations that disrupt and lift societies.”―Satya Nadella, Fast Company
About the Author
Philippe Aghion is Professor at the Collège de France, INSEAD, and the London School of Economics and was previously Professor of Economics at Harvard. He is coauthor, with Peter Howitt, of Endogenous Growth Theory and The Economics of Growth.
Céline Antonin is Senior Researcher at OFCE, the French Economic Observatory at Sciences Po in Paris, and Research Associate in the Innovation Lab at the Collège de France.
Simon Bunel is Senior Economist at INSEE, the French National Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies, and at the Bank of France. He is also Research Associate in the Innovation Lab at the Collège de France.