Magazine November 16, 2020, Issue

How to Promote Invention and Innovation

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Tolerate eccentricity, encourage population growth

Innovation requires inventions, and inventions begin with ideas. Though artificial intelligence may, at some point in the future, supplement or complement human ideas, at present only humans are capable of producing new ideas. Or, as the George Mason University economist Don Boudreaux noted in a 2018 article, “There Are No Natural Resources,” “the human mind is the ultimate resource because it, and only it, creates all of the other economically valuable inputs that we call ‘resources.’” That said, ideas are a bit of a mystery. They don’t show up in magnetic-resonance imaging or in people’s DNA. We don’t know who

This article appears as “Disagreeability, Mother of Invention” in the November 16, 2020, print edition of National Review.

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Marian L. TupyMr. Tupy is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute’s Center for Global Liberty and Prosperity and the editor of

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