RE: [OPE] one of the great inventions of the 20th Century?

Date: Sun Mar 09 2008 - 11:20:15 EDT
A few additional comments:
Moving beyond the issue of NIPA, the above list raises a 
number of issues. To begin with: who decides what are
the "great" innovations and what are the criteria used?
To believe that there could be a non-biased and non-
arbitrary listing (let alone ranking) is folly.  The above
listing is clearly US- (and Euro-) centric. After all, how
did Mr. Potato Head, PEZ candy, and the Barbie Doll profoundly 
impact lives internationally in the 20th Century? 
Even in the US - where they are more iconic - 
on what basis could they be said to be great inventions?  
The unstated criteria for their inclusion is that 
they were products which were _profitably_ produced
and marketed. I guess from that perspective a "pet
rock" might have made the list. But, could it 
legitimately have been said to be a great invention?
In addition to having a cultural bias the listing also strikes
me as more nostalgic than credible: thus, note the large 
numbers of toys and candy listed as "inventions". 
If a product does not have the consequence of representing 
an entirely new product or process can it be said (in 
retrospect) to have been a great invention?  In Marxian 
terms if the diffusion of that innovation does not 
transform the forces and relations of production then 
how can it be said to be of great consequence? 
Also incorporated within the listing is the belief that a 
_theory_ can be an invention. Thus, Einstein's Theory
of Relativity (1905) was listed as a great invention. 
But, is  the discovery of a new theory or conception 
the same thing as an "invention"?  
In solidarity, Jerry
The above is an onlist list.  Some of the  "great inventions" 
 * the teddy bear (1902)
 * cornflakes (1906) 
 * Life Savers candy (1912)
 *  the drug 'ecstasy' (1913)
 * PEZ candy (1927) 
 * the Yo-Yo (1929)
 * the game 'Monopoly' (1934)
 * slinky and silly putty (1943)
 * Mr. Potato Head (1952)
 * Barbie Doll (1959)
* Cabbage Patch Kids (1983)
 No mention  of GDP.  After all, who could possibly say that GDP 
was a greater invention than any of the above?

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