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Live From Davos: Development and Innovation

A Columbia University economist, Xavier Sala-i-Martin, spoke at a session on global competitiveness in Davos this morning. He offered what I think is the most succinct statement of the stages economies move through on their way to becoming innovation-based. First, he said, you concentrate on making something cheaper than anybody else. And when you can no longer make something cheaper than anybody else, you concentrate on making something better than anybody else. And when you can no longer make something better than anybody else, you concentrate on making something different than anybody else. That’s the innovation economy.

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