Researcher, lecturer and international consultant, specialized in the social and economic
impact of technical change and in the historically changing conditions for growth, development
...the book fills an important gap in the literature on business cycles and innovations. I most strongly commend it to all those attempting to understand the past and future evolution of technology and the economy.'
Christopher Freeman, Emeritus Professor, SPRU,
University of Sussex, UK
'...Carlota Perez shows us that historically technological revolutions arrive with remarkable regularity, and that economies react to them in predictable phases. Her argument provides much needed perspective not just on history, but on our own times. And especially on our own information revolution.'
W. Brian Arthur, Santa Fe Institute, New Mexico
Carlota Perez. Venezuelan-British. Researcher, lecturer and international consultant, specialized in the social and economic impact of technical change.
She is Honorary Professor at the Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose, UCL-U.K. and at SPRU, Science and Technology Policy Research, University of Sussex, U.K. She is also Adjunct Professor at the Ragnar Nurkse School of Innovation and Governance, TalTech, Estonia and Academic in Residence at Anthemis UK. She was Centennial Professor 2013-2016 at the London School of Economics (LSE).
Her articles from the early 1980s and her book Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages [Elgar 2002] have contributed to the understanding of the relations between technical and institutional change, between finance and technological diffusion and between technology and economic development.
'... a road map of relevance both for scholars and investors who, having survived the Great Bubble of 1999-2000, must needs concern themselves with what happens next'
William Janeway, Vice Chairman of Warburg Pincus, USA. Author of Doing Capitalism
'The financial captains - in Tom Wolfe's memorable phrase, "the Masters of the Universe" - would be well-served by this dose of history. So, too, would the leaders of productive capital, as they struggle to add value in a frenzy of financial speculation. And as for policy-makers, the answer is obvious - Perez's insights are not just important; they are urgent... Do read the book. It is important. It is accessible. It is well presented. It's also fun.'
Raphie Kaplinsky, IDS, University of Sussex and CENTRIM, University of Brighton, UK From Review in Technovation
ON THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK: “Capitalism, Technology and a Green Global Golden Age: The Role of History in Helping to Shape the Future”
The increased awareness of the role of technology and innovation in the economy has not yet found a clear expression in orthodox economic theory – or in the growth strategies being applied across most of the advanced world. There are currently widely divergent opinions... read more
ALSO ON THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK: “From long waves to great surges: continuing in the direction of Chris Freeman’s 1997 lecture on Schumpeter’s business cycles”
The first edition of Theory of economic development was published in 1911. It is a well known fact that after his death Joseph Alois Schumpeter – the most quoted economist after Keynes – experienced a purgatorial season from which he emerged at the time of the first petroleum shock... read more
ON DEVELOPMENT: “Innovation as Growth Policy: The Challenge for Europe”
The advanced world is facing a crucial moment of transition. We argue that a successful outcome requires bringing innovation to the centre of government thinking and action...
ALSO ON DEVELOPMENT: "The new context for industrializing around natural resources: an opportunity for Latin America (and other resource rich countries)?"
This chapter argues that development is a moving target, and that windows of opportunity to both ‘catch up’ and ‘leap ahead’ present themselves at certain times and in specific regions due to technological revolutions and paradigm shifts. Having examined the historical precedents...
ON ORGANIZATIONAL CHANGE: "Technological revolutions, paradigm shifts and socio-institutional change"
The last decades of the 20th Century were a time of uncertainty and extremely uneven development. People in many countries and in most walks of life feel uncertain about the future for themselves and their workplaces, about the prospects for their own countries and for the world
as a whole... read more
The talk lasts one hour, covering: (1) the difficulty of predicting the future (2) getting help from recurring past patterns (3) asking where we are now in such patterns (4) how to shape the future by shaping the direction of the new technologies and, finally, (5) the role of the Covid-19 crisis in opening new possibilities.
On Nov 12, I participated in conversation with Stelvia Matos, Head of the Centre for Social Innovation Management at Surrey Business School. We discussed the shaping of the Post-Covid future on two levels. I presented the macro-historical point of view and Stelvia, the view from the very poor areas in the developing world, specifically the Brazilian favelas. Radical redesign for sustainability through entrepreneurship and innovation.
“The Golden Age at our Doorsteps” is an article I wrote with Andrés Schäfer, for the book Faster than the Future by the Digital Future Society of Barcelona. In five acts, we unfold the story of capitalism driven by successive waves of technology until we reach the turning point of the Covid pandemic. Where have we come from? Where are we headed? The digital revolution is ready to be deployed and, with adequate policies and directionality, could lead us to a new era of global, digital, green and socially fair prosperity. The question is how. And that is what we tried to answer. You can also download our article here And the whole book here
In October 19 and 26 I gave two lectures on technical change to the students of the master’s in public administration in the IIPP-UCL (Institute of Innovation and Public Purpose in the University College London) founded and directed by Mariana Mazzucato. Thirty-five students from several countries. A very interesting and interested group. I enjoyed the seminars on the 20th and 27th. A few weeks later I had a meeting (equally virtual) with the seven Latin Americans. We had a good discussion.
This September (2020) I gave my semester course in two weeks “Techno-Economic Paradigms and Technological Transitions”. It was designed for the master’s degree students on “Technology Governance and Digital Transformation” of the Ragnar Nurkse Institute at TalTech, Estonia, but it’s open to all TalTech master’s students, mostly engineers. I had 64 fantastic participants this time, all very active and imaginative. I was exhausted with the four-hour plus session in the evening (and so were they!) but that’s the creative way that the Nurkse has found to bring teachers from abroad, one after the other for two weeks each. Great solution! Among the teachers in the intensive teaching scheme are Erik Reinert, Wolfgang Drechsler, Jan Kregel and Vasilis Kostakis.
In March and April 2020, I gave my regular lectures to the master’s students of the Institute of development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex. This time over internet, with 36 students from all ovr the world, listening, discussing and doing online workshops. I mainly argued that technological revolutions make opportunities for development a moving target and that the current opportunity with the ICT revolution may be more favourable to developing countries than mass production. Among other things, natural resources plus technology is a new available option.
I am working on a sequel to Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital, this time focusing on the role of the state.
There will be articles and blogs as the project progresses. Your comments will be welcome.
See also a series of blogs about Brynjolfsson and McAfee’s Second Machine Age:
I argue that this revolution is indeed unique, but also one of a series of five, rather than only the second since the Industrial Revolution in England, as they claim. So I make various parallels with previous ones. And yet, I also wonder why, if it is such a momentous transformation, their policy recommendations are so timid and give such a small role to public policy.
The session was chaired by Otto Scharmer and the other talk was by
Sandrine Dixson-Declève , the co-president of the Club of Rome, who also gave an optimistic message about policies moving towards sustainability. The whole session can be watched
In May 2020, in the midst of the pandemic lockdown I gave a talk in the virtual Consensus event of the blockchain and cryptocurrency crowd:
THE SOCIAL SHAPING OF TECHNOLOGICAL REVOLUTIONS: Blockchain and AI in the Information Age
My goal was to clarify a confusion about blockchain and cryptocurrencies, which are often associated with my theory about technological revolutions, bubbles and golden ages. I basically argued that there is a major difference between a revolutionary technology (like artificial intelligence or blockchain) and a technological revolution, which involves many successive revolutionary technologies and technology systems, such as the mass production revolution in the 20th century and information technology now. I also suggested that, in the necessary process of modernizing government such technologies could play a key role.
After the talk there was a discussion with Chris Burniske, the author of Cryptoassets, chaired by Zack Seward of Coindesk.
Hilary Cottam presented her powerful report on Welfare 5.0 referring to the social revolution that has to accompany a potential golden age based on the information revolution. It was chaired by Mariana Mazzucato, the Director of IIPP, and commented on by Anne-Marie Slaughter (CEO New America), Imandeep Kaur (Director of Civic Square) and me. I referred to how Hilary’s proposals came from the wisdom of experience and why the time was ripe for putting them to practice. But no matter how appropriate the safety net, society needs to be fairer to begin with, so that welfare policies only have to care for a decreasing minority. Link to the event.
Recent Interviews and Podcasts:
I gave an interview to Roel Verrycken of the Belgian business daily De Tijd. Corona can lead to a golden age. They tell me it was the most widely read for three whole days. People are looking for new directions, which is what I tried to signal there. You will need Google Translate because It’s in Dutch 😉 It was also published in French here.
I essentially argue that technological revolutions radically change the nature and conditions of work and they therefore require welfare revolutions and institutional innovations. And, to be consistent, those who think giving something for nothing is harmful for people should also be against inheritance.
A few days before the lockdown on March 2nd 2020, during the University strike, I have a talk about “the historical role of organised labour and protest movements in shaping capitalism and technology” at IIPP-UCL.
In December 2019, I lectured to undergraduates in Economics at Brighton University about how the information revolution opens possibilities for an environmentally and socially sustainable future.
In April 2019, I gave the final lecture of the IIPP Course on Rethinking Capitalism: Lecture 10: Capitalism, technology and innovation. After nine brilliant lectures by well-known economists questioning the various aspects of orthodox economic thinking about capitalism, it was my turn to look to a possible sustainable future. You can watch the whole series here.
Another blog in my page on the Beyond the Tech Revolution project Digital and green: a very convenient marriage. I basically argue that we need to move towards green with the help of the digital revolution and give some examples of what that could look like.
I put up a new blog in my BTTR project page about “The Post-Covid 19 crisis as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity”. It is basically a further discussion of the one I put up in March, noting that a consensus is growing about making the reconstruction a renewal in a socially and environmentally sustainable direction.
I contributed a chapter titled ‘Transitioning to Smart Green Growth: Lessons from History’ for the Handbook on Green Growth, edited by Roger Fouquet (Elgar 2019).
I wrote a blog for UNCTAD titled "An opportunity for ethical capitalism that comes once in a century". It refers to how midway along the diffusion of each technological revolution society gets a chance to actively shape the new technologies with a social purpose in mind. A global sustainable golden age is a real possibility and the chance to shape it is now.