O-Ring industries are ones in which a number of interrelated tasks must all be completed successfully – ones in which a moderate increase in workers’ skills greatly increases the probability of success. The idea was originated by Kremer, and further developed by Jones. It helps explain why the richest, smartest countries produce entirely different, much more sophisticated ( and profitable) goods than the poorest, dumbest countries – because they can.
It strikes me that maximally-complexity O-ring-type projects might be serve as an index of a society’s capabilities – something like the Seven Wonders of the ancient world, but a better measure. This tells you something different from peaks of individual intellectual accomplishment.
So, Boeing and Airbus jets are pretty O-Ringish. Same for jet fighters and nuclear submarines. CERN and LIGO certainly qualify. Jack Parson’s Lab is a steady producer. Modern computer chips are good examples, as are operating systems.
What were the O-Ring Wonders in 1500? ? 1 AD?