Economics, Innovation and Technical Change

So I’ve been reading this book called ‘Economics and technological change’ which I’ve been given by my supervisor as I wanted to move on from transitions theories. The book is from 1987 but much of the theory and historical analysis still holds true. I thought rather than just letting the information settle in my head I’d write something down.
It started talking about really early technical change from an economics perspective in terms of cost reductions and competitive advantages and so on and then went on to talk about how this all sits with R and D departments in firms. The end of the book was more focussed on politics and social aspects of technical change. Specifically it talked about the UK Government supporting the defense industry and the role of ideology in determining how Government’s respond with more left wing approaches directly investing, supporting and regulating and right wing governments having a more hands off approach leaving it to ‘the market’.
One thing that interestingly doesn’t seem that controversial is the idea that pure research needs to be supported by the state as firms simply won’t often embark on complete blue skies thinking. I think the controversy here comes from how much funding is available and for what areas.
What I really find interesting is this concept of technical change and development supporting economic growth. People and powers focus so much on the direct costs of new technologies without looking at the wider benefits to both the UK Plc. and in terms of wider societal benefits. There are for example thinkers such as Carolta Perez who suggest that green developments and IT should be the next focus for economic growth.
I want to take a look at the literature around this concept and see how this can apply to gas transitions rather looking at the negatives which industry focus on and lobby groups use, such as potentially higher costs of heat, the ‘stranding’ of assets and so on.
What about wider societal benefits? Comfort? Economic growth?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: