Saturday, July 03, 2010

Towards Creative Construction? Notes on The Cook Report on Internet

[ The following notes explore themes that emerge from recent published issues of The Cook Report on Internet, and related arch-econ private mail-list discussions:]

In consideration of teasing out the themes of recent
Cook Report on Internet disc-list and reports:

Creative Construction?

The main theme that emerges seems to be "The Challenge of Creative Construction for a Broken World":

  • The "resilient communities" theme ... was a response to your post regarding the direction/priorities of the list. And the city-state / nation state theme likewise. And all consistent with your previous June 2010 Power of Pull theme. Your Bauwens P2P theme likewise. I know I am stating the obvious.
  • All consistent threads with your COOK REPORT June 2010 Exec Summary (para 2) of the global theme of "In some ways, what the authors describe has overtones of Carlota Perez but goes beyond her work in showing with finer resolution how the productivity enhancements of our new digital infrastructure enable what he calls creative edge that can pull the no longer productive aspects of the core to innovative projects at the edge. Edge based skunk-works transform the core in this new world."
  • ie moving beyond the world of broken global finance, telecoms etc, towards the on-the-ground challenge of building next generation communications IP infrastructure and business models that support sustainable local-regional communities and empowerment. - And thence your forthcoming Portland case study.

  • = all of which chimes in with this recent conclusion - and call to action - by Carlota Perez [ Open Economy, March 2009: After Crisis: Creative Construction] : "Ultimately, the length and depth of the global recession (perhaps depression) will depend, not on the financial rescue packages but, to a much greater extent, on whether the wider measures taken are capable of moving the world economy towards a viable investment route with high innovation potential. The technological transformation that occurred during the past few decades has already provided the means for unleashing a sustainable global golden age. The environmental threats offer an explicit directionality for using that creative potential across the globe in a viable manner. The major financial collapse has generated the political conditions to take full advantage of this unparalleled opportunity. It is everybody's responsibility to make sure this possibility is not missed."
  • ie Perez addresses the "destructive creation" / "creative destruction" dialectic that comes from Schumpeter's approach to technology-social transformations [ see wikipedia discussion of this theme ]
  • ie Cook Report - through various recent strands - is addressing a parallel agenda for "Creative Construction" of local/regional, edge-based and assets-based telecoms and community development / empowerment


Postscript, 18 July

Back to the future: Perez at Schumpeter 2010


Carlota Perez's recent presentation to the 2010 Schumpeter Conference further engages the agenda for "creative construction" noted above; highlighting the political, policy and research challenges through which to "engage the business world in a positive-sum game", in order to break through the current global finance crisis towards the implementation phase of General Purpose digital technologies (ICT).

A pattern recognition therefore emerges between the concerns of the 2010 Schumpeter Conference's aims and recent themes of The Cook Report on Internet.
  • There is a clear convergence of agendas regarding the digital communications revolution in which ICT is a critical driver of the next phase of technology and business innovation and social transformation.
  • At the strategic meta- and global level of analysis, the challenge is to steer global political economy, finance reform, the role of the state, and the channeling of new investment into technological innovation, ecological sustainability, and equitable social transformation at both the global and local levels.
  • Moreover there appears to be a shared frame of reference regarding the strategic vision and insights of THE POWER OF PULL: How Small Moves, Smartly Made, Can Set Big Things in Motion (Basic Books; April 2010) by John Hagel III, John Seely Brown, and Lang Davison, where the demand-pull side of the equation is critical for the implementation phase of the communications and green economy transformation.

At the abstract level the sense of a synthesis here suggests a systems approach, and an identification of the ground of convergence as that of the evolutionary process of technological, economic and social development ( - back to Schumpeter's "entwicklung"), leaving aside for the moment disciplinary disputes about the approaches of evolutionary economics and technological evolution.


Carlota Perez's recent presentation to the 2010 Schumpeter Conference

The 13th Conference of the International Schumpeter Society took place at Aalborg Congress and Culture Centre on 21-24 June 2010. The title of the conference was "Innovation, Organisation, Sustainability and Crises". Conference presentations are available here.

Carlota Perez's plenary presentation:
  • slide-set available as pdf here ;

We may note in particular:

Slide 10: "The structural shift involves A CHANGE IN THE DRIVERS OF INNOVATION

Slide 12: "Expansion and shaping of demand for a possible global positive-sum game":
  • posits the structural dynamics of Cheap ICT (externalities), Full Global Development (demand volume) and "Green" (demand direction)
  • and note the orders of magnitude here, framed in terms that relate the drivers of the preceding post-45 "Post War Golden Age" of implementation of the Fordist mass production economy phase of General Purpose technology, economic expansion and wealth creation. Note for instance the infrastructure scale of "Full internet access at low cost":

  • Cheap ICT: Full internet access at low cost is equivalent to electrification and suburbanisation in facilitating demand (plus enabling education)
  • FULL GLOBAL DEVELOPMENT: Incorporating successive new millions into sustainable consumption patterns is equivalent to the Welfare State and government procurement in terms of demand creation
  • "GREEN": Revamping transport, energy, products and production systems to make them sustainable is equivalent to post-war reconstruction and suburbanisation

  • As well as referencing the drivers of the post-45 boom phase in this way, Perez also recommends (see slide 11) a synthesis of the insights of both Schumpeter and Keynes, ie the combined global and national perspectives and enrichment of Schumpeter regarding Technology & Globalization and of Keynes regarding institutional innovation ( - re the role of the state, finance reform, innovation policy)

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