What is your personal favorite "minor" innovation that has had a large impact on efficiency, and therefore, the economy?
[–]nytimeskrugman[S] 998 points 19 hours agoHmm. I'm not sure about efficiency. But how about the graciousness of life? As someone who spends too much time in airports and train stations, and has been doing that for a long time, let me say that the advent of self-flushing toilets in men's rooms has made life significantly less disgusting.
And on the more serious front: bar codes!!!
But, old-fashioned is no qualification for an economist. Social Security being 19th century technology--like the horse and buggy--imported from Bismarck's Germany via FDR's New Deal in the 1930s.
Since then, we've split the atom, invented jet engines, sent men to the moon and back, developed bar codes that allowed the creation of the modern retail superstore, and have computerized and internet-ized such simple tasks as writing letters, and visiting the library.