How products embody information, a poetic explanation in Why Information Grows by Hidalgo

I have just read Why Information Grows. The Evolution of Order, from Atoms to Economies by MIT data visualisation professor, César Hidalgo

I was really pleased my dad recommended, and bout me this interesting book. It crosses disciplinary boundaries in a refreshing way, using physics to explore information science with a view to building a explanation of economies, based around the value of the information they create. Not surprisingly there is a strong link between what they create, and what they have (materially), but the book focuses on the way that products embody information.

Hidalgo has built a set of visualisation formulae to analyse the exports of nations and compare them. This offer some interesting and sometimes unexpected ways of estimating potential future growth.

His writing seems to stimulate quite strong critiques from several contributors at The Economist.

Hidalgo’s summary is less poetic than the full text, but gets the most important concepts across in a page: How the Computational Capacity of Economies Explains Income.

I found the FT review by Eric Beinhocker gave a positive focus to some of Hidalgo’s analysis, offering at least some endorsement of the concept of the  linked  product space as a determinant of development.