Noah Smith asks

So here’s the question: what if our slow rate of innovation is due not to an inexplicable slowdown in the arrival of new ideas, but from the fact that China has made the discovery of those ideas less urgent?

My answer. Yes.

What should we do about it – tentatively nothing.

I think there is less daylight between us all Mandel, Cowen, Noah, myself than might seem on first glance.

That we should expect investments in the technology of globalization rather than in the technology of more specialized capital and better products is natural.

That this should produce a different set of winners and losers is natural.

That any increase in productivity should see gains accrue to unskilled labor was a happy coincidence.

That unskilled labor in China is experiencing many of the current gains is a happy coincidence.