L’énigme de l’innovation

NEW YORK – Il règne partout dans le monde un enthousiasme considérable autour de cet ensemble d’innovations technologiques que symbolise la Silicon Valley. L’ingéniosité de l’Amérique constitue à cet égard un véritable avantage comparatif, que tant d’autres pays s’efforcent d’imiter. Aspect cependant énigmatique, notons combien il est difficile de déceler les bienfaits de cette innovation au sein des statistiques du PIB.

Nous assistons actuellement à un phénomène analogue aux évolutions opérées il y a quelques dizaines d’années, au début de l’ère de l’ordinateur personnel. Déjà en 1987, l’économiste Robert Solow – récompensé par un prix Nobel en reconnaissance de ses travaux pionniers sur la croissance – regrettait que « l’ère informatique se retrouve partout, sauf dans les statistiques de le productivité. » Ce constat peut s’expliquer de plusieurs manières.

Peut-être le PIB n’est-il pas en mesure de véritablement capter les améliorations de niveau de vie qu’engendrent les innovations de l’ère informatique. Ou peut-être l’innovation en la matière s’avère-t-elle moins significative que semblent le croire les adeptes de cet univers. Une certaine vérité réside en fin de compte dans chacune de ces hypothèses.

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