It isn’t the initial idea of a technology that makes life so fantastic for all of us. It is the next round of people who figure out how to make it ridiculously cheap that lets everyone enjoy the really cool inventions. So explains Matt Ridley, of the Wall Street Journal, in Three Cheers for the Cheapeners and Cost-Cutters.
“A feature of innovation is that the greatest impact of a new idea comes not when the light bulb goes on over the geek’s head, but when the resulting technology eventually becomes cheap enough for many people to use—perhaps decades later.
This is the driver behind the tremendous productivity gains in the last few centuries.