"Unleashing a golden age after the financial collapse: Drawing lessons from history"

2013. “Unleashing a golden age after the financial collapse: Drawing lessons from history” in Environmental Innovations and Societal Transitions, Vol. 6,
March, pp. 9-23



The current crisis is not a “black swan” but a recurrent historical event midway along the successive technological revolutions. In contrast with other crises, the ones that follow the major technology bubbles install a vast innovation potential that can be unleashed with adequate government policies. The so-called Golden Ages in the past two centuries (the Victorian boom, the Belle Époque, the post war golden age) have followed post-bubble recessions. After governments save the banks and jump-start the economy, they need to regulate and reorient finance towards the real economy while fostering synergistic growth in agreed directions. The article holds that the possibility is there for unleashing a golden age – national and global – by tilting the playing field in favor of “green growth”. The question is whether the conditions for government to become proactive again are as favorable as after WWII.


Financial bubbles, golden ages, great surges, green growth, industrial policy, techno-economic paradigms, technological revolutions


  1. The current post-bubble recession is more akin to that of the 1930s than to that of the 1980s.
  2. Economic revival requires the equivalent of the Welfare State, Bretton Woods and the New Deal to unleash innovation and investment.
  3. To be effective, the regulation of globalized finance must be supranational and overcome opacity.
  4. “Green growth” is not only for saving the planet but is probably the most effective route to saving the economy.
  5. The conditions in favor of active State intervention to shape markets are not yet ripe but there are several growing trends pointing in that direction.

Table of Contents:

  1. Introduction
  2. Not a “black swan”: the historical recurrence of bubbles and crises
  3. Three steps out of the post-bubble collapse
     Emergency action to save the patient
     An adequate institutional framework for global finance
     Creating conditions to guide synergistic growth
  4. Overcoming the crisis by tilting the playing field to redirect innovation
  5. Are the socio-political conditions favorable to unleashing the next golden age?

List of Figures: 

  1. The historical record: different prosperities on either side of the financial collapse
  2. Pendular polarization of income along each Great Surge of Development in capitalism


Published 2002

'...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

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Technological Revolutions Financial bubbles Installation Period Frenzy Deployment Period Golden Ages Dual strategy Techno‑economic paradigms Neo‑Schumpeterian Respecialization Synergy Turning Point Future markets Knowledge society Green growth Maturity Full global development Globalization Sustainability Socio‑economic development Paradigm shifts Irruption Market hyper‑segmentation