I was reading the Malcolm Gladwell take on the Jobs biography and came across this little gem --
One of the great puzzles of the industrial revolution is why it began in England. Why not France, or Germany? Many reasons have been offered. Britain had plentiful supplies of coal, for instance. It had a good patent system in place. It had relatively high labor costs, which encouraged the search for labor-saving innovations. In an article published earlier this year, however, the economists Ralf Meisenzahl and Joel Mokyr focus on a different explanation: the role of Britain’s human-capital advantage—in particular, on a group they call “tweakers.” They believe that Britain dominated the industrial revolution because it had a far larger population of skilled engineers and artisans than its competitors: resourceful and creative men who took the signature inventions of the industrial age and tweaked them—refined and perfected them, and made them work.
Did you catch that bit in the middle (highlights/bold are mine). I was suddenly reminded of a bajillion graphs I've seen recently, including but not limited, to this one:
What if the problem with current innovation is that there's a "release valve" for it? That is to say, because workers are paid so little (in the US and elsewhere), there's not a pressure to reduce the number of them, so innovation is depressed?
I'm not looking to drive people out of work, but when labor costs are high, there's an inherent desire to make your processes more efficient so you can cut those costs. But the other half of that is that it takes far less capital to get your new businesses going, which means more people can do cool things.