If you could choose just one thing that has done most to shape our economy today — what would it be?

The diesel engine?

The pill?

The shipping container?

Maybe narrowing it down to one is a little unfair. Let’s make a list. Or better yet, let’s rely on Tim Harford, whose BBC Radio Series and book makes the case for 50 inventions that changed the modern economy. Some are pretty obvious, like barcodes or Google or the passport. Some need a bit more explaining, like barbed wire or double-entry bookkeeping or that Billy bookcase at IKEA.

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