Hi! I’m Jonathan Mazumdar, currently co-founder of Growth Teams, a new nonprofit that supports developing countries achieve catch-up growth.
For some time I’ve been interested in the history and economics of innovation and economic growth. One of the books that really ignited my interest in progress-related topics was Where Good Ideas Come From by Steven Johnson; I’m a big fan of all his work.
I’m drawn to progress studies due to the intrinsic satisfaction that comes from knowing the true origin of things, and the lessons that may be relevant both for frontier growth in high-income countries and for catch-up growth in developing countries.
I’m based in Kigali and fairly infrequently on Twitter @jmazda.
Hi Christian - thanks for reading!
The point on elite universities is distinctly about how these epicenters have shifted over time, not a snapshot in time today. Germany was home to the world leading higher education institutions in the 19th century. One example, from mathematics -- over the years the University of Göttingen was home to Gauss, Riemann, Hilbert, von Neumann, and others. The book cited, "Empires of Ideas", gets into this evolution and global movement of modern universities.
On the point of talent being equally distributed, I think this is both self-evident and substantiated by many examples and the data. One example that is quite familiar is the proliferation of Indian immigrants now running the global technology companies. A empirical point is the paper we cite on IMO scores, which highlights the existence of talent and the subsequent limitations of opportunity: "an equally talented teenager with the same IMO score born in a low-income country produces 30% fewer publications and receives 50% fewer citations than a participant from a high-income country."