"The claim that real wealth can only be achieved by making things falls
on receptive ears. You can’t have an economy of hairdressers, the saying
goes. Yet you can’t have an economy of steelworkers either. Mao Tse
Tung tried this: he encouraged the creation of backyard furnaces in
which peasants melted down pots and pans to meet national targets for
steel output. But the experiment is not generally regarded as a success.
The productivity of modern economies is based on the division of