Čas tehno pesimizma

The Economist prinaša dobro recenzijo nove knjige “The Innovation Illusion” v avtorstvu Fredrika Erixona in Bjorna Weigela. Ta knjiga je še za spoznanje bolj mračna kot knjiga Roberta Gordona “The Rise and Fall of American Growth”. Medtem ko Gordon pravi, da je IT revolucija zgolj majhna diverzija v upočasnjujoči se trajektoriji rasti produktivnosti v primerjavi z invencijami iz prve polovice 20. stoletja, pa Erixon in Weigel obupavata nad upočasnjeno nagnjenostjo kapitalizma do inoviranja. Stopnja inoviranja se je upočasnila, podjetništvo prav tako, najpomembnejša podjetja so že stara ali pa v srednjih letih. Schumpetrova “kreativna destrukcija” se zdi mrtva.

Razlog za upočasnjeno nagnjenost kapitalizma k inoviranju Erixon in Weigel najdeta v samem kapitalizmu oziroma natančneje v strukturi lastništva. Danes večine podjetij nimajo v lasti podjetniki, pač pa finančni skladi, te pa zanima zgolj stabilen donos. Podjetja vodijo birokrati, ki se izogibajo tveganih naložb v nove tehnologije. Velika podjetja, kot so Microsoft, Google in zdaj še Facebook pokupijo vsa potencialno nevarna inovativna podjetja, njihove inovacije integrirajo ali pa zaprejo.

O tem bo še velika debata, predvsem ali prav merimo vse aspekte tehnološkega napredka, toda nobelovec Robert Solow, avtor neoklasičnega modela rasti in koncepta “celotne faktorske produktivnosti“, imenovane tudi “Solow residual“, je že leta 1987 povedal, da IT revolucijo lahko vidimo povsod, le v statistikah produktivnosti ne.

Now a new book, “The Innovation Illusion” by Fredrik Erixon and Bjorn Weigel, presents a still more pessimistic vision. Messrs Erixon and Weigel write that the very engine of capitalist growth, the creative destruction described by Joseph Schumpeter, is kaput. Aside from a handful of stars such as Google and Amazon, they point out, capitalism is ageing fast. Europe’s 100 most valuable firms were founded more than 40 years ago. Even America, which is more entrepreneurial, is succumbing to middle-aged spread. The proportion of mature firms, or those 11 years old or more, rose from a third of all firms in 1987 to almost half in 2012, and the number of startups fell between 2001 and 2011.

People who extol free markets often blame such stagnation on excessive regulation. That has certainly played its part. But the authors argue that stagnation has most to do with the structure of capitalism itself. Companies are no longer actually owned by adventurous capitalists but by giant institutions such as the Vanguard Group (with more than $3 trillion under management) which constantly buy and sell slivers of ownership for anonymous investors. These institutions are more interested in predictable returns than in enterprise.

It is not all Mark Zuckerbergs at the top, the authors posit. Most big firms are answering the call for predictability by hiring corporate bureaucrats. These people shy away from risky investments in new technology. After rising relentlessly as a share of GDP in 1950-2000, investment in IT began declining in the early 2000s. Instead of shaking up markets, bureaucratic CEOs focus on squeezing the most out of their sunk costs and fight to defend niches. They hoard cash, buy back their firms’ shares and reinforce their positions by merging with former rivals.

Vir: The Economist

One response

  1. Ena najbolj ključnih zavor pri novih inovacijah so patenti. Zakaj je danes nemogoče narediti novi apple, google, twitter itd… Zaradi patentov. Sicer velja za vse veje industrije, še posebej pa IT itd. Tudi vsi kao “prostotrgovinski sporazumi” se na veliko ukvarjajo s patenti. Le zakaj? 🙂 Rente so privlačna stvar.
    Dve fantastični oddaji, javnega radija, ki pojasnjujeta ozadja patentov v IT industriji.
    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/441/when-patents-attack
    http://www.thisamericanlife.org/radio-archives/episode/496/when-patents-attack-part-two

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