Transformative Technologies in the Past, Present and Future: Implications for the U.S. Economy and Economic Policy

July 15, 2008

ITIF hosted a forum with noted economist Dr. Richard Lipsey, Professor Emeritus of Economics at Simon Fraser University. Dr. Lipsey discussed the findings from his the award winning 2006 book, Economic Transformations: General Purpose Technologies and Long Term Growth. , arguing that growth is powered principally by “evolutionary change” driven by technological revolutions that have regularly transformed our economic, social and political landscapes. Lipsey argues that we are in the midst of such a transformation today, driven by the information technology revolution.

These revolutions don’t just transform economies; they transform, or at least should transform, economic policies. Lipsey argues that the conventional neo-classical economics that guides much of Washington’s economic thinking is outdated, being rooted in the economy of the last half of the 20th century. Rather, he contends that a new “innovation economics” is required if we are to successfully grow the U.S. economy in the first half of the 21st century.

Dr. Lipsey is the author of several economics textbooks, including Positive Economics , that have been translated into nearly 20 foreign languages and nearly 200 articles in journals and books on various aspects of theoretical and applied economics. He is also the holder of the gold medal for achievement in research from the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada.