This article is the part 5 from Chapter 4 of Richard Heinberg’s new book The End of Growth, which is set for publication by New Society Publishers in August 2011. This chapter explores the possibilities of innovation, substitution and efficiency to maintain economic growth.
“I have seen a small manufactory of this kind where ten men only were employed. . . . But though they were very poor, and therefore but indifferently accommodated with the necessary machinery, they could, when they exerted themselves, make among them about twelve pounds of pins in a day. There are in a pound upwards of four thousand pins of a middling size. Those ten persons, therefore, could make among them upwards of forty-eight thousand pins in a day. Each person, therefore, making a tenth part of forty-eight thousand pins, might be considered as making four thousand eight hundred pins in a day. But if they had all wrought separately and independently, and without any of them having been educated to this peculiar business, they certainly could not each of them have made twenty, perhaps not one pin in a day. . . .”