Thomas Edison was a great inventor indeed. But, I am not sure he got this one 100% right. To be fair, he was right for the economy of his time. The new economy is driven primarily by inspiration. In a recent insightful book entitled "What Management is?", Former Harvard Business Review strategy editor Joan Magretta notes that
"conventional wisdom in the auto industry, for example, is that a company needs to sell four million cars per year just to stay in the game....Why have the stakes risen so dramatically? Today, even the automobile industry is driven more by the economics of idea than the economics of physical production. car companies need to be bigger than ever, because they face huge costs in brand marketing, in entering difficult new markets, and in developing new technology."
This is indeed one of the salient features of the new economy which in turn implies,as we have noted in earlier posts on this blog, a rather atypical cost structure: The first unit is very costly to produce while the others are not.
The new economy has far-reaching implications. Indeed, while nobody will complain about the fact that growth and prosperity are driven by ideas, one may nevertheless worry that a perspiration/inspiration divide is in the making: Perspiration is outsourced to poor or less developped countries while inspiration becomes the privilege of developped countries. This trend creates tensions, economic, social and political, that may reveal hard to solve.