Tools for Thought: What Is New and Important About
Stephen S. Cohen, J. Bradford
DeLong, and John Zysman
February 27, 2000
Comments Are Welcome
- Eras when advancing technology and changing
business organizations transform economies and societies.
- Not a leading sector.
- Instead, many economic sectors acquire
powerful new tools.
- Are we today living through such a shift
in our economic landscape?
- Perhaps... Modern information and communications
technologies are tools for thought.
- They amplify brainpower in the way the technologies
of the Industrial Revolution amplified muscle power.
How to Tell the Story of the Information Technology Revolution
- A two-fold story.
- Innovations in technology.
- Innovations in business organization and
- The technology story.
- The doubling of semiconductor capability
and productivity every-eighteen-months.
- A rate that has carried us from the room-sized
vacuum-tube computers to the modern Internet.
- The complementary surge in the capacity of
the communications network to transmit digital information.
- The business organization and practice
- Changes in...
- ...business organization
- ...market structures
- ...government regulations
- ...human experience.
- Difficulties of measurement.
- The business innovations add up to a new
business ecology with...
- ...a prominent role for venture capital
- ...the start-up and the spinoff
- ...new option-based ways of compensating
skilled workers and entrepreneurs
- but will this new business ecology last?
Implications of the E-conomy
- Macroeconomic implications.
- Substantial and unexpected increases in productivity.
- Lower natural rate of unemployment.
- But at bottom not primarily a macroeconomic
- Microeconomic implications
- Resolving the production dilemma
- Resolving the innovaon dilemma
- A new business ecology?
- Global Issues
Sustaining the Transformation
- Pilgrimages to Silicon Valley
- People come to Silicon Valley today much
as people came to Manchester at the start of the industrial revolution.
- They come to marvel at the accomplishments
of new technology, new organizational forms and new industry.
- They come to try to understand what this
- When they leave, it would be good if they
had a framework to structure the information, visions and debates.
- For the past fifty years, governments
have by and large gotten policy right.
- Policy has been right in two broad directions.
- Resources: investments in research, development,
- Public investment in science and technology
- Public investment in technological education
- Rules: the systems of public and private
governance and market organization required to make the market
for information technology work
- Open competition.
- Open standards.
- Intellectual property.
- How to extend this success into the future?
- Public investment in...
- ...basic research into science and technology
- ...the technological-age education of people
- Rule making
- New property rights
- Flexibility and inclusion
- Global issues...
Tools for Thought: What Is New and Important About the "E-conomy"