Thursday 2 August 2018

talent pool

As part of a larger discussion on the pace of technological advancement, Marginal Revolution’s Tyler Cowen introduces us to the Grand Ise Shirine complex in the Mie prefecture of Japan and how process and institutional knowledge play a big role in progress.

The architectural style dates back to antiquity and can be referenced in no other structures—this site being holy to the sun goddess Amaterasu, housing the Imperial artefact the Sacred Mirror—and is characterised by gabled and thatched roofs with plank walls. To ensure that the buildings are forever both new and ancient and that succeeding generations know the craft and technique of construction, for at least the past twelve hundred years, the old shrines and the wooden bridge that spans the Isuzu River (namesake of the automotive company) have been dismantled and rebuilt on a site adjacent to exact specifications every twenty years. The cycle of renewal is called Sengu, and the present buildings (originals in their sixty-first iteration) date from 2013.