Preface by Chris Freeman
chapter title ix Preface Carlota Perez has made several highly original contributions to the understanding of long-term technological transformations and the way in which such changes interact with wider economic, social and political changes. This book is perhaps her most original and controversial contribution. Her intense interest in these deep processes was aroused in the 1970s when, as a young researcher, she was studying the oil industry, then and still today of critical importance for her own native country, Venezuela. In trying to explain the causes and consequences of the so-called OPEC crisis of 1973, she became convinced that the global economy had begun a long-term transition from a mass-production economy based on cheap oil to an ‘information economy’ based on cheap micro-electronics. The arrival of the microprocessor – a ‘computer on a chip’ – served as a ‘big-bang’ announcing this probability and she was able to develop her theory at this time through a period of postgraduate research in California – a state which was already then at the forefront of the Information Revolution. As a result of this research and her subsequent work with government and industry, she was able to publish in 1983 a paper that became an influential landmark in this field. It was entitled ‘Structural Change and the Assimilation of New Technologies in the Economic and Social System’ and the title adequately reflects the content. It became influential for three main reasons. First of all, it demonstrated that very big changes in technology entailed not just the extraordinarily...
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