Technology doesn’t contribute to productivity?

Here’s what I think: If economic analysis says that technology does not contribute to the overall productivity of the country, check the analysis. It’s incorrect.

It’s self evident and obvious that technology – computers, smart phones, tablets, cloud computing, robotics, and on and on make us more productive. I say, send the economists back to the drawing board to look again.

Economic Statistics Miss the Benefits of Technology – NYTimes.com:

The meme is back. The burst of productivity during the dot-com revolution of the 1990s gave skeptics pause. But as productivity has slowed substantially in recent years, doubts have re-emerged about whether information technology can power economic growth like the steam engine and the internal combustion engine did in the past.

 

Software Developer Meat Market

An interesting article in Forbes about Software Developers and Development in general, The Rise of Developeronomics. While here and there he is promoting old chestnuts which may or may not be true there is a core argument which is quite intriguing. It goes something like this:

  1. All companies are becoming software companies, meaning they are driven by software whatever their business actually is.
  2. Hence a key resource to a successful business is an effective, efficient and scalable capability to create innovative computer driven systems. Programmers are scarce.
  3. Hence the way to invest in the future is to cultivate great and excellent developers who believe in you, are willing to follow your vision and will commit to your projects.

Sometimes I wonder whether business writers come up with a two paragraph insight or story idea and bulk it up into a 3 page article, or whether I am just not appreciating their craft. In any event, Venkatesh Rao writes:

“Investing in good developers is such a good bet at the moment, that if you have money and you happen to find a talented developer who seems to like you and wants to work with you, you should give him/her your money to build something, anything, even if you have no really good product ideas (those are cheap; I’ll sell you a dozen for a dollar).” (from The Rise of Developeronomics)

Wow. And a little further on he warns:

“In what follows, I am deliberately going to talk about the developers like they are products in a meat market. For practical purposes, they are, since the vast majority of them haven’t found a way to use their own scarcity to their advantage. Which means others find a way to do so. In capitalism, every human is either a capitalist, somebody else’s capital, or economically worthless. Today, this abstract point specifically translates to: people who can invest in developers, developers, and everybody else. (from The Rise of Developeronomics)

Read the whole of The Rise of Developeronomics.

Frank Rick (again): The other plot

Ok, I am on a Frank Rich binge, but he does have one thought provoking article after another. In his column recently he wrote about The Other Plot to Wreck America:

“If they all skate away yet again by deflecting blame or mouthing pro forma mea culpas, it will be a sign that this inquiry, like so many other promises of reform since 9/15, is likely to leave Wall Street’s status quo largely intact. That’s the ticking-bomb scenario that truly imperils us all.” (from “The Other Plot to Wreck America”)

I just just finished reading the rare business/economics book (I usually skip them) called How Markets Fail. A highly readable and comprehensive review of economic theory as it evolved from Adam Smith to the present day. From the linked review in the Economist:

“For Mr Cassidy, the deeper roots of the crisis lie in the enduring appeal of an idea: that society is always best served when individuals are left to pursue their self-interest in free markets. He calls this “Utopian economics”. (from The Economist)

I suspect Mr. Cassidy would agree with Mr. Rich, above, and vice versa.