Het Innovatie enigma

NEW YORK – Over de hele wereld is er een enorm enthousiasme voor het soort technologische innovatie gesymboliseerd door Silicon Valley. In deze zienswijze representeert de Amerikaanse vindingrijkheid zijn ware comparatieve voordeel, dat anderen proberen te imiteren. Maar er is een raadsel: het is moeilijk om de voordelen van deze innovatie te detecteren in de bbp-statistieken.

Wat er vandaag de dag gebeurt is analoog aan ontwikkelingen enige tientallen jaren geleden, vroeg in het tijdperk van de personal computers. In 1987 klaagde de econoom Robert Solow (die de Nobelprijs kreeg voor zijn pionierswerk op het gebied van groei): ‘men kan het computertijdperk overal zien, behalve in de productiviteitsstatistieken’. Er zijn hier verschillende mogelijke verklaringen voor.

Misschien weerspiegelt het bbp niet echt de verbeteringen in levenstandaard die door innovatie in het computertijdperk worden veroorzaakt. Of deze innovatie is misschien minder significant dan haar volgelingen geloven. Het blijkt dat er enige waarheid in beide perspectieven zit.

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