Necessity no longer seems to be the mother of invention.
Mobile phones, iPods, televisions, and other gadgets are practically designed for the dump nowadays, as consumers ditch them after a year or two for the newer iterations.
But the so-called disposable consumer society these rapid-paced innovations have helped create is a critical driver of the American economy, because it encourages consumers to keep their wallets open.
In most cases when it comes to innovation, the simple fact that something is new and being purchased is a demonstration of its value, economists and business professors argue.
'A' for Anything That Sells
“I don’t care if it’s pet rocks or Angry Birds, if someone’s willing to pay for it, value is being created,” says Amar Bhidé, a professor of international business at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. “Consumers tend to do a good job of screening out innovations they don’t want, and we have by and large put enough sand in the wheels of innovation so that things that are likely to do harm to innocent bystanders we control.”
Determining whether an innovation is “good” or “bad” is a complicated calculus, says Alexander Field, an economic historian who teaches at Santa Clara University.Page 1 of 4 | Next Page