Fundamental changes in information technologies have profound implications for labor markets, for the production and spread of knowledge, and for the evolution of politics and beliefs. But competition among producers also influences the use of these technologies and their impact on multiple dimensions of life. The introduction of Gutenberg’s printing press crystallized these dynamics and profoundly shaped the long-run evolution of European society.
The evidence from history ... strongly indicates that competition and market structure in printing profoundly shaped the diffusion of ideas and radical social changes commonly ascribed to the technology alone. Competition among printers promoted the spread of business practices that drove individual achievement and local growth.