The Invisible Hand of Innovation showing in the General Purpose Technology of Electricity

Bauke van der Kooij

    Research output: Working paperScientific

    76 Downloads (Pure)

    Abstract

    The unintended economic effect on society as result of individual behaviour —Adam Smith’s ‘Invisible Hand’ of economic progress in the eighteenth century — had its equivalent in technological progress. In the nineteenth century, again individual behaviour with its Acts of Innovation and Acts of Business had an unintended effect. It changed not only the economy, but also the world we are living in. The Communication Revolution, initiated by the ‘Engines of Growth’ of the GPT-E that are described, was the result of human curiosity, ingenuity and entrepreneurship. It were the General Purpose Engines of the Telegraph, the Telephone and the Wireless —developed by Morse and Cooke/Wheatstone, Bell and Marconi— that created its milestones. With all those other contributors, large and small, their basic innovations constituted the ‘Invisible Hand’ of technical progress.
    Original languageEnglish
    Publication statusPublished - 2017

    Keywords

    • Adam Smith
    • General Purpose Technology
    • Technological innovation
    • cluster of innovation
    • history of technology
    • invention

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