What Creates Wealth?

In 1980 a book entitled ‘The Mighty Micro’ by Christopher Riche Evans was published. The author was remarkably insightful and actual foresaw the enormity of the changes computers would bring.

He couldn’t foresee the detail any more than most of us, but he did glimpse an important underlying principle and its message was profound:-

  • For centuries, people had believed that land created wealth.
  • Since the Industrial Revolution we have believed that industry creates wealth.
  • The reality is that Information creates wealth.

It was a new idea and the author illustrated it by pointing out that North Sea Oil had been under the sea for millions of years - it was knowing how to get it out that created the wealth that flowed from it.

The book was the culmination of a television series broadcast in the 1970s and amazingly, you can still see the whole series on YouTube. Click to watch:-


The consequences of this insight are enormous:

  • In the Agricultural era, farming was the great employer and education was reserved for those in power.
  • In the Industrial era, factories and mines were the great employers. Universal education became necessary to provide a literate workforce.
  • In the Information era, things will be different - but we don’t know quite how! It seems clear, though that Christopher Riche Evans was right - it’s the knowledge industries that have become the great employers. Schools, libraries, the Internet - and organisations not yet invented - these are the heavy industries of the new world.

(to be continued . . )

Next: Dramatic Changes

© Brian Smith 2015