From the New York Times:
What’s the last great book you read?
“The Technology Trap,” by Carl Benedikt Frey, made me look at the industrial revolution, invention, sleeping beauties, contexts and the forces that shape our societies differently. Counter to much conventional wisdom there was plenty of innovation and invention before the industrial revolution — but it seems there was either no need for it or it was actively discouraged by the aristocracy, who saw it as threatening: New inventions that would leave large numbers of peasants unemployed might provoke an uprising.
Techies and economists love to point out that the textile machines the Luddites opposed in the 19th century brought greater prosperity to all — but it took three generations before the benefits kicked in, and there was a lot of pain and suffering in the meantime. And as Frey points out, history is made in the short term.