Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Progress

We are agog at the new inventions of our times: computers, new medications, you name it. But the late Herbert Stein, a former Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisors under Richard Nixon made a different case: That the late 19th and early 20th century were the times of the greatest invention: telephones, airplanes, automobiles, air-conditioning, the telegraph, indoor plumbing and so on.
I think Stein was probably right.
Herb was a colleague of mine at the American Enterprise Institute. The management once suggested that we share a secretary. Stein, one of the few economists with a sense of humor, said drolly: "Sharing a secretary with Wattenberg is like sharing a canoe with an an elephant."
Probably right again.

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