Once the preserve of the military, drones are another interesting example of the stream of innovations that will continue to flow from scientific research. Mind you, drones will never be one of the Wunderkind products that economists are hoping for — one of those that will lift consumer demand significantly and restore the 3% to 4% economic growth rates of the 1970s and ’80s.
Drones, as consumer goods, are not as expensive as effective status goods, such as cars or television were initially. Nor will governments allow them to be mass produced and sold in shops without individual registration first — drones can be as dangerous as guns in the wrong hands.
But drones will have their uses in the producer goods part of GDP and many will be bought and sold. One such use is that proposed by a pest control firm, Mitie. This will search out and destroy seagulls’ nests in high rise buildings. Mitie also intends to use them for cleaning purposes in edifices which were otherwise costly. But there are many other uses and there are many other firms of all sorts currently studying how they can use drones.
In all probability, drones will not be increasing a country’s GDP, as economists are hoping for, but at least they won’t be diminishing it.