Can the increasing significance of knowledge-products in national income— the growing weightless economy—influence economic development? Those technologies reduce “distance” between consumers and knowledge production. This paper analyzes a model embodying such a reduction. The model shows how demand-side attributes—consumer attitudes on complex goods; training, education, and skills for consumption (rather than production)—can importantly affect patterns of economic growth and development. Evidence from the failed Industrial Revolution in 14th-century China illustrates the empirical relevance of the analysis.