Chapter

The Emergence of a New Techno‐Economic Paradigm: The Age of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

Chris Freeman and Francisco Louçã

in As Time Goes By

Published in print March 2002 | ISBN: 9780199251056
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191596278 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/0199251053.003.0009
 The Emergence of a New Techno‐Economic Paradigm: The Age of Information and Communication Technology (ICT)

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US technological leadership and domination of the world economy were further enhanced by the extraordinarily rapid rate of technical change and output growth in the semiconductor, computer, and telecommunications industries in which American firms played a leading role and to which American universities made a vital contribution.

Whereas some historians have cast doubts on the pervasiveness and the magnitude of the effects of earlier technological revolutions, such as the railways, few doubt the significance of the Information Technology Revolution and some, such as Castells, see it as ushering in a new type of economy and even a new civilization.

Just as in the 1920s the Hoover Report had stressed that changes in mass production technology and other business developments had given rise to a new style of management, so many economists and management consultants today stress the ways in which the new ICT infrastructure and especially the Internet are bringing in a new type of firm—the ‘network firm’ organizing both production and distribution in entirely new ways.

Great uncertainty still attends more profound social and political changes associated with ICT including the diminished capabilities of national governments to tax and regulate powerful multinational firms and the rise of a new culture of ‘virtual reality’.

Keywords: computers; ICT; innovation; Internet; multinationals; networks; regulation; semiconductors; technological revolution; telecommunications; US

Chapter.  14485 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Economic History

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