The four decades that still define our world

The ways of doing things that they and their contemporaries laid down in this period had a long, brutal and tragic afterlife that defined the world for centuries to come. The disruptions of our current period — the kinds of incentive structures and values and durable new institutions being created — will certainly do the same, in ways we can’t yet begin to imagine. In 1530, the Industrial Revolution and global empires were still far distant on the horizon, even if the circuitous paths leading there had, I think, been set down. We should cast a critical eye on the potential downsides of our own innovations as well.

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