As regards the relationship between technology, the economy and society, Carlota Perez is one of the world’s most innovative researchers. In this book she presents a systematic analysis of those interactions, empirically grounded and theoretically coherent, centered on the dynamics of financial capital, as the strategic instrument of globalization. It is a fundamental work to understand the structural transformations of the economy and society in the information age.
The dynamics of capitalism are driven by the intersection of the development and deployment of transformational technologies and the behavior of financial institutions and markets, yet for both historians and theoreticians these two domains have been virtually walled off from each other since Schumpeter. Now Carlota Perez has defined a frame of reference for analyzing the recurring cycles of boom and bust that characterize the past 250 years of economic development, one that calls to mind the synthetic vision of Fernand Braudel’s great work on Capitalism and Civilization. In doing so, Carlota Perez has also provided a road map to relevance both for scholars and investors who, having survived the Great Bubble of 1999-2000, must needs concern themselves with what happens next.
…a book of interest not only to economists, but also to everyone with an interest in reading an analysis of evolution and the processes of change. In fact, the Venezuelan researcher explains her wish for the book to contribute to awareness and reflection that will help society towards an inclusive system of globalisation and growing wellbeing for all.
I tremendously enjoyed reading this book both because of the topic that Carlota Perez investigates, and because of the way the investigation is carried out.
… a book that will stretch the imagination, broaden the horizons, and challenge the thinking of the business economist immersed in his daily tasks, this book is worth time invested in reading it.
… filled with exactly the same enthusiasm and considered thought that enlivens her conversation. It is one of the most enjoyable economics books I have read for some time.
“A broad-sweep ‘think piece’ in the Schumpeterian spirit…”
Before I read this book I thought that the history of technology was – to borrow Churchill’s phrase – merely “one damned thing after another”. Not so. 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.
While the growing literature of neo-Schumpeterian economics has focused on technological change, Carlota Perez’ book brings back Schumpeter, the scholar of finance. Not only that, Perez manages to remarry for the first time two main aspects of Schumpeter’s work, technological change and finance, in a historical account which is both sweeping and profound. The result is a book with important and urgent messages for economic policy, also in the developing countries that experience the peripheral effects of the powerful systems of innovation and finance in the core countries. This book provides a qualitative understanding that is needed for a better economic policy.
Perez provides a fresh analysis of technological, financial and social booms and busts in an engaging and refreshing way. The book weaves a compelling new fabric of observation and theory, and shows that something can be done to learn from, anticipate, and deal constructively with the tribulations of interlinked technological, economic and social change. It does so concisely and in an idiom that bridges abstract economic theory with tangible human history and experience. If it is brought to their attention – as it should – this compact book will give hope to those scholars, students and policy analysts who wonder what really happened in the cybertechnology/internet gold-rush prior to 2001 and what could possibly lie ahead.
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.
Carlota Perez… is a perceptive and unique observer of the mutations that characterize the economy at present, but she fulfills this task from a standpoint that seems to have been forgotten by most professional economists, absorbed as they usually are by the complicated details of the conjuncture, unable to look up and encompass the scene a few months ahead. Her book, the fruit of an admirable stubbornness, mellowed in the course of at least three decades, is an interpretation of history in connection with long term technological transformations, inspired in Schumpeter´s ideas… ‘Carlota Perez’ writings are organized… around her concept of techno-economic paradigm, which shows the mesh of causes and consequences among technology, politics, society and culture. It is a concept with an enormous explanatory power and with the important virtue of being also an effective antidote for technological determinism… ‘…this book is in my view -being sure not to exaggerate- indispensable reading for anyone trying to understand the world that it has been our lot to live in.
It was Carlota Perez in the early 1980s, who designated the major changes in technology systems, such as mechanization, electrification or computerization, as «changes of techno-economic paradigm» a designation which has since been widely adopted. In this book she offers many new insights into these complex processes of social, economic and technological change. She traces the interactions between that part of the economy commonly known as «financial capital» and the evolution of technologies. Although this was an important aspect of Schumpeter’s original work, it has been neglected by his followers, so that 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.
This is a fascinating book, well worth reading, and reflecting on.
I remain a skeptic. What remains, in any case, is a series of provocative ideas on interactions among technological innovations, financial markets, and social institutions.
Few of us have the range of understanding of technological innovation that Perez shows in this book. We bring to our understanding of the world and social and economic debates the baggage of our experience and the insights gained from it: For the thinking cobbler all the problems of the world can ultimately be put down to bad shoes. The true development of ideas requires the exploration of the limitations of those ideas. Carlota Perez does this precisely by trying to show how particular factors, finance, new technology, the structure of economic institutions, play their part in pushing forward economic development, and then cease to have this function.
Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital» is the crystallization of a sustained research effort undertaken by the author for more than twenty years, examining the role of new technologies in socio- economic development processes across the world… ‘In the early eighties Carlota Perez had already acquired recognition in international circles involved with technological and industrial development, innovation, etc. Her pioneering 1983 article about the role of microelectronics in global economic development became the unavoidable reference for anyone approaching the study of that theme. The field of study she helped create, in relation to this phenomenon, has grown through the years, and she is widening it now to incorporate the way in which financial capital participates in the emergence, promotion, difusion and depletion of each technological revolution and of the new techno-economic paradigm that accompanies it… ‘It is a great contribution to the understanding of the interaction between financial capital and technological progress. …it represents an interesting challenge for organizations such as CAF and its stockholder countries while it helps fulfill one of the new objectives of this multilateral institution in the sense of designing our own agenda for development, with an integral vision, capable of helping us move forward in the promotion of competitiveness and in facilitating an equitable insertion of Latin America in the world economy.