Beyond the Technological Revolution Series- Is Smart Green Growth the Solution?

Beyond the Technological Revolution is a four-year research project led by Carlota Perez, as a continuation of the work done for her 2002 book Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: the Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages (Edward Elgar). Her research explores the relationship between technology and economic development, between finance and technological diffusion and between technical and institutional change.

The paper has been posted on this website with permission due to its connection with Deep Transitions.

A podcast complementing the paper is available here.

This paper takes a historical perspective to argue for the possibility of a global sustainable Golden Age, unleashed by the application of a set of policies that takes environmental threats as
opportunities and combines smart green growth with full global development. It discusses why both of those policy directions would create dynamic demand to promote investment and create
new jobs to compensate technological unemployment. The paper first looks at the historical patterns in the diffusion of technological revolutions, focusing on the ways in which state action
in combination with technological potential has created ‘golden ages’ after periods of depression in the past. It analyses the boom that began in the US following the Great Depression and World
War II, and holds that the key to prosperity was the setting of a direction to ‘tilt the playing field’, creating dynamic demand for the set of products and services typical of the mass production
revolution. It then discusses that, each time around, the tilting implies a redefinition of the ‘good life’ through accelerating the already visible trends in demand and social values that can be
catered to and fulfilled by the current technological potential. An analysis of the demand-pull effect of post-war national and international policies follows, before the argument is made that
we now need an equivalent raft of measures to address the inequality that is creating social unrest today. It ends with a discussion of some of the institutional innovations and policies that
would be required.

Authors: Carlota Perez
Document Type:
Working paper