General Sources of General Purpose Technologies in Complex Societies: Theory of Global Leadership-Driven Innovation, Warfare and Human Development
COCCIA M. (2015) “General sources of general purpose technologies in complex societies: Theory of global leadership-driven innovation, warfare and human development” , Technology in Society, Volume 42, August 2015, Pages 199-226
28 Pages Posted: 24 Jul 2015 Last revised: 3 Aug 2015
Date Written: July 23, 2015
A fundamental problem in the field of the economics of innovation is how to explain the sources of path-breaking innovations that support the human development and socioeconomic progress in complex societies. The study here confronts this problem by developing the theoretical framework of global leadership-driven innovation, which endeavors to explain the general sources of General-Purpose Technologies (GPTs). Evidence, based on an inductive study of some leading societies, shows that the sources of strategic GPTs are, de facto, associated to the goal of global leadership of a purposeful system in the presence of effective and/or potential environmental threats. In particular, a purposeful system (e.g. a complex society), with high economic potential and purposeful institutions having the purpose of achieving/sustaining a global leadership, tends to engender GPTs that are spread in the long run. The conceptual framework is applied to analyze the current determinant of a vital case study: the U.S. Navy's Mobile User Objective System (MUOS), a possible next GPT. Over the centuries, the General Purpose Technologies e that support technological, social and economic change e have significantly changed, but their driving force, based on the goal of global leadership, is an invariant feature of the human development.
The vital linkages between observed facts provide a general framework to explain the sources of General Purpose Technologies, which induce human development and progress in society.
Keywords: General purpose technologies, Radical innovation, War, Global leadership, Great powers
JEL Classification: O31, O39, O10, N00, N31, N33
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