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A World of Wealth: How Capitalism Turns Profits into Progress by Thomas G. Donlan

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Chapter 5. The Essential Elements of Capitalism: Investment and Invention

Where did our modern industrial society come from? It was not invented all at once. It was not imposed on people by outsiders. In this chapter, we pause for a brief look back at the changes that occur in industrial revolutions.

The proverb says that necessity is the mother of invention, but necessity prompts creativity only in desperate circumstances. All too often, there isn’t time for the kind of breakthrough that would save the day. Invention is more often a grim step-by-step process of trial and error in an industrial laboratory. Most important creations follow Thomas Edison’s process, “1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Recall that to develop a practical ...

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