I have, for a long time, been telling audiences that there is no new technology coming along to drive our economy along. When doing so I have always got out my phone and said that the appeal they have to offer will run out of road when we come to realise that there are, after all, finite things they can really do for us. Confirmation comes this morning from the FT, who note:
Note what he’s saying. Technology is stagnating…..
Then there are … mobile phones. Never mind the fact that “free minutes” has suppressed the PCE index this year. The really interesting point is that this symbolised a bigger trend: rapid digital innovation is expanding the productive capacity of our economic system in unexpected ways. This is changing price signals in a manner that economists and statisticians struggle to understand — or measure.
Our statistical systems were developed for a 20th-century industrial world, where goods and services had tangible prices and consistent qualities. They can count goods and serices from motor cars to massages well. But statisticians struggle to measure the impact of rapid product quality changes, such as when a $400 phone suddenly offers dramatically more services than a similarly priced one a year ago. The current statistical systems also fail to capture non-monetary transactions such as the barter that takes place when consumers download “free” apps and use “free” cyber services in exchange for giving their data to technology companies for “free”.
That’s from Gillian Tett. Who is pointing out quite how fast technological advance is zooming along. And which the Spudmonster uses as proof that technology is stagnating. Says Snippa:
We’re living in a new economy shaped by, but no longer driven by, technology.
And his example of this stagnation is the mobile phone, the fastest adopted technology in all of human history.
And they let this man teach economics?