Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Complex Picture of Technology and Economics

Erik Brynjolfsson talks briskly about technology developments and economic benefits.  From the standpoint of data and analysis, these are quite breathtaking indeed.  He lives and works in technology, so he can see closely its disruptive nature and cross-industry impact: From one billion people coming out of poverty, to more billionaires rising out of record profits.  

(screen shot)
For more than 140 years, the trend in per capita GDP is clearly a geometric curve.  The rise of wealth is essentially rising faster. In other words it's accelerating.

(image credit)
McKinsey more than corroborates Brynjolfsson: They extend his rundown literally into the trillions and trillions of dollars.

(screen shot)
Brynjolfsson acknowledges that there is nothing in economic law that says growth has to benefit everyone evenly.  My reaction:  Ain't that the truth, professor.  

I'd argue that (a) it's less about keeping up with technology change and more about helping more people gain from it; and (b) executives themselves need prompting, guidance and support to adopt and reap the benefits of technology (rf. Embracing Digital Technology).

I'd say, There is something fundamentally wrong with economic law, which makes Brynjolfsson's point such a gross understatement.  As the wealth has risen geometrically, the divide between the have and the have-not seems to have widened as well.

I've watched this interview with Andrew Keen four times now, and my reactions have shifted from rebutting his theses, to reflecting more on the underlying truths.  His main point is that the internet, perhaps technology in general, is both a cause and a consequence of frank inequities in society.  

I'd say, We need more of people who can step back, and look at the complex picture of technology and economics, both in the broad, analytic sense and at the granular, personal level.  I'm working on it: To critique and alter that economic law (rf. Eradicating Poverty).

Thank you for reading, and let me know what you think!

Ron Villejo, PhD

No comments:

Post a Comment