# Where the economic growth of a society come from?

I'm thinking about value generating. I hear it a lot in a innovation context, i.e. one should create a new product that a lot of people want to buy.

I can see how a new product can value more than the sum of its parts, but I don't understand how this can increase the wealth of a society.

The point of view that raised this question for me was: let's say a person can spend only what she earn as wage, so when a new product come out, this product is competing with all the pre existing products, someone should lose to someone else to win.

Where the economic growth of a society come from?

• I would think that if we see this based on the Solow growth equation: $\ Y = A K^{1/3} L^{2/3}$. Then, the creation of new innovative products from the same pool of resources would be signified by an increase in A, the "total factor productivity". May 17 '20 at 3:22
• By a quick search about Solow I can see he attributes economic growth to technology change, is that right?
– Jp_
May 17 '20 at 3:29
• Is as if everybody is producing new products nobody loses. Would be kind of a competition between old and new.
– Jp_
May 17 '20 at 3:34
• 1muflon1`s answer let me thinking: The perceive of value is more important than the production itself? Kind of the bank race: if everybody wants to withdraw, it crashs, so the system depends that people believe their money is safe there, as for economic growth people needs to believe the products worth more. Even if it's an old product that is advertised as more valuable..
– Jp_
May 18 '20 at 13:51
• – Jp_
May 18 '20 at 15:17

I can see how a new product can value more than the sum of its parts, but I don't understand how this can increase the wealth of a society.

The wealth of society, in material sense, consists of what it can produce. Production of more products or services is the wealth. Economic growth is by definition a continuous increase in production. In fact the way how we most commonly measure economic growth is to just measure output per person by measuring GDP per capita.

Wealth is not money, money is just a measurement stick for value, storage of that value, and tool to simplify exchanges, but it’s not wealth in itself. However, because it is so ubiquitous many non economists equate it with wealth itself but that is just ‘money illusion’. If you would have billion \\$ but could not buy even a loaf of bread with it you would be poor compared to a person with 0 dollars who has access to any goods or services they wish.

let's say a person can spend only what she earn as wage, so when a new product come out, this product is competing with all the pre existing products, someone should lose to someone else to win.

In competitive market economy people earn approximately what is their marginal product. When you go to work you either create goods or services for someone directly or indirectly and in competitive market you will get for that money equal to the worth of your marginal product. If you can produce more with the same or less inputs you will also earn more money.

The reason why for example Solow-Swan model shows that economic growth depends on technology is that technology makes people continuously more productive year after year and allows them to produce more. This increases production is the real wealth, but besides that if people are more productive they also get pay more.

In real life not all markets are competitive so the above holds only approximately but empirical evidence shows that real wages indeed track net productivity over long term.

Besides increases in technology endogenous growth theory suggests that also savings rates and support for basic R\&D and human capital can accelerate economic growth. The mechanism there is different than in Solow model but ultimately again what delivers growth is how the above boosts the productivity and output.

• -1 without explanation is frivolous. Efficiency gains from trade (international micro) considerations and macroeconomic growth are indeed not the same (as the other answer seems to imply). May 17 '20 at 18:18
• "Economic growth is by definition a continuous increase in production.". Products and services? But is not just increasing products, right? These products should be perceived as more valuable than old products, right? I'm starting to think that the perceive of value is more important than anything else. Kind of the bank race: if everybody wants to withdraw, it crashs, so the system depends that people believe their money is safe there, as for economic growth people needs to believe the products worth more.
– Jp_
May 18 '20 at 13:40
• @Jp_ it’s about both value and quantity. For example if in year t economy can produce one apple in year t+1 2 apples and in year t+2 3 apples and so on it would be considered growth. One apple may still have the same value to people but there is more apples to go around. However, also if there would be just one apple produced each year but it would be continuously improved in quality making it more valuable it would also count.
– 1muflon1
May 18 '20 at 13:50
• @Jp_ I agree that marketing adds to the GDP of country, but let me stress again just an increases in GDP is not really economic growth it’s increase in level of GDP. Also although marketing does contributes to the economic activity it’s contribution is not as high as you might think. Marketing itself is not even big enough to have its own category on most national accounts. I tried to even find its contribution to the GDP but could not in national accounts because its coupled with other industries but I found source (see end of next comment) according to which it is about 1 percent of GDP even
– 1muflon1
May 18 '20 at 15:01
• In the most service oriented economies such as UK or US. Also, even if you see contribution of marketing increase over time it’s is most often not due to marketing itself but underlying technologies such as internet etc. which allow for more efficient ‘production’ of marketing services. To the extent marketing grows GDP due to access to new technologies it’s the technology causing the growth not marketing. Promised source thecreativeindustries.co.uk/industries/advertising/…
– 1muflon1
May 18 '20 at 15:04

Growth comes from resource consumption. There are certain factors like demographics which inflate gdp. However the actual long term growth is always related to physical reality.