Beyond the Technological Revolution


Author: Carlota Perez

Second Machine Age or Fifth Technological Revolution? (Part 4)
The historical patterns of bounty and spread

A central idea in The Second Machine Age is the definition of the consequences of the new technologies as a combination of ‘bounty’ and ‘spread’. With the concept of ‘bounty’, Brynjolfsson and McAfee refer to the wealth-creating capacity of information and communications technologies (ICT), particularly in terms of significantly increasing productivity. In discussing the ‘spread’ of this bounty, they refer to increasing inequality and to the ‘winner-takes-all’ polarisation of the wealth created. These are indeed two key characteristics of what has happened up to now in the ICT revolution ...

Second Machine Age or Fifth Technological Revolution? (Part 3)
The current moment: beginning of a new machine age and/or the turning point of the fifth great surge?

Having argued in the previous post in favour of an interpretation of technological revolutions that would count the current ICT transformation as the fifth surge since the first industrial revolution, I can nevertheless recognize that there are grounds for seeing it as the beginning of a ‘second machine age’. The essential break that Brynjolfsson and McAfee rightly register is that...

Second Machine Age or Fifth Technological Revolution? (Part 2)
The periodization of history into technological revolutions: why, what, how many and when?

History is an unwieldy mass of information that can be interpreted in multiple ways depending on the lenses used by the author. Whether focusing on political hegemony, art, or technology, the purpose of distinguishing epochs is to learn something from the past that can shed light not only on the present – but on paths into the future. This is commonly done with...

Second Machine Age or Fifth Technological Revolution? (Part 1)
Introduction: the pitfalls of historical periodization

Information technology has been such an obvious disrupter and game changer across our societies and economies that the past few years have seen a great revival of the notion of ‘technological revolutions’. Preparing for the next industrial revolution was the theme of the World Economic Forum at Davos in 2016; the European Union (EU) has strategies in place to cope with the changes that the current ‘revolution’ is bringing. Yet between these two institutions, as amongst academics, there is disagreement ...

Notes about the possible occurrence of socio-political paradigm shifts with each technological revolution
Prepared by Carlota Perez for a meeting with Mary Kaldor and Robin Murray

This letter was written in late 2015, when the current political situation was already foreshadowed by protests and rising populist politics […] It ponders the existence of what could be called a socio-political paradigm that shifts with each technological revolution, asking if what we are witnessing currently can in fact be expected – and whether alternative manifestations are possible...

Welcome

The blog at www.beyondthetechrevolution.com is designed as a forum for discussing current issues of technology, economics and policy relevant to the Beyond The Technological Revolution (BTTR) project, as well as a space to communicate the ongoing findings of the project team. One of our aims here is to...