This is part of a series, ‘Economists Exchange’, featuring conversations between top FT commentators and leading economists

In the last decade and a half, advanced western economies have struggled with the fallout from the global financial crisis. During that catastrophe, emerging economies surged forward, ending the global north’s unchecked dominance. For Brad DeLong, economics professor at the University of California at Berkeley, 2010 marks the end of what he calls “the long 20th century”, which started around 1870 and was marked not just by Anglo-American dominance but by a historically unprecedented pace of technological innovation and economic growth.

In this conversation, DeLong discusses the long 20th century and his new book devoted to it, Slouching Towards Utopia (which was longlisted for the FT Business Book of the Year award). In this, he puts particular stock in the industrial research lab and how it made the…

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