Source: Project Syndicate
ROBERT J. SHILLER
Robert J. Shiller, a 2013 Nobel laureate in economics.
>Read more about him.
Economic growth, as we learned long ago from the works of economists like MIT’s Robert M. Solow, is largely driven by learning and innovation, not just saving and the accumulation of capital. Ultimately, economic progress depends on creativity. That is why fear of “secular stagnation” in today’s advanced economies has many wondering how creativity can be spurred.
One prominent argument lately has been that what is needed most is Keynesian economic stimulus – for example, deficit spending. After all, people are most creative when they are active, not when they are unemployed.
>Read the article at Project Syndicate
Source: The New York Times
The most important word in the technology industry is “innovation.” It is also the most dangerous.
Silicon Valley companies lobby for relief from government regulation and tax so they may innovate profitably. Privacy intrusions by social media or online advertising are seen as a cost of innovating, and a way to learn how these powerful new tools will fit in our lives.
It is not just that “innovation” is a word worn smooth from overuse. We treat innovation like an impersonal force, and a ceaseless outcome of entrepreneurship in tech. If we displace people or distort our culture with innovations that, say, wipe out local bookstores or measure every moment in a warehouse worker’s day, it is the price of a generally beneficial force.
Increasingly, however, economists and social thinkers are challenging the conventional wisdom on innovation. …
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Source: The Economist
An army of new online courses is scaring the wits out of traditional universities. But can they find a viable business model?
DOTCOM mania was slow in coming to higher education, but now it has the venerable industry firmly in its grip. Since the launch early last year of Udacity and Coursera, two Silicon Valley start-ups offering free education through MOOCs, massive open online courses, the ivory towers of academia have been shaken to their foundations. University brands built in some cases over centuries have been forced to contemplate the possibility that information technology will rapidly make their existing business model obsolete. Meanwhile, the MOOCs have multiplied in number, resources and student recruitment—without yet having figured out a business model of their own.
Besides providing online courses to their own (generally fee-paying) students, universities have felt obliged to join the MOOC revolution to avoid being guillotined by it. Coursera has formed partnerships with 83 universities and colleges around the world, including many of America’s top-tier institutions.
EdX, a non-profit MOOC provider founded in May 2012 by Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and backed with $60m of their money, is now a consortium of 28 institutions, the most recent joiner being the Indian Institute of Technology in Mumbai. Led by the Open University, which pioneered distance-learning in the 1970s, FutureLearn, a consortium of 21 British, one Irish and one Australian university, plus other educational bodies, will start offering MOOCs later this year. But Oxford and Cambridge remain aloof, refusing to join what a senior Oxford figure fears may be a “lemming-like rush” into MOOCs. (mehr …)