General purpose technology

General purpose technology

General purpose technologies (GPTs) describe great leaps of innovation that can affect an entire economy (usually at a national or global level). Unlike traditional technologies, which economists view as a smooth advancement, GPTs are drastic advancements that redefine society. Examples are the steam engine, railroad, electricity, electronics, the automobile, the computer, and the Internet.


The introduction of a new GPT to an economy may, before improving productivity, actually decrease it:
*the obsolescence of old technologies and skills
*learning costs
*time required for development of new infrastructure
*readjustment of labor to new industries, causing temporary unemployment

This initial inability to exploit the benefits of the new technology is known as the Solow Paradox.

New technology can also be isolating. The internet, originally created for faster communication between people, can cause you to search for someone random and foreign to connect with. In reality, the connections you should be making are the ones with people right in front of you. Think about how much you miss, by sitting in front of a screen, waiting for a new email....

ee also

* [ General Purpose Technologies and Economic Growth] Edited by Elhanan Helpman.
* [ ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATIONS:General Purpose Technologies And Long Term Economic Growth] by Richard G. Lipsey, Kenneth I. Carlaw, Clifford T. Bekar

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