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Technology and Creativity Reshaping Economies and Societies in the 21st Century

Followed by the industrialization ages, the digital revolution is, and has, contributed to major changes in all possible industries globally, given birth to a knowledge economy, where automation and computerization have led to increased productivity resulting in job loss. Technological advancement, with the Internet reaching a critical mass in the early 1990´s, has affected and reshaped economies, created new kinds of jobs, giving the opportunity to an emergence of completely new, creative ways of conducting business, networking, and global communications made possible for anyone. 

Automatization and global competition has, in developed economies, led to labor being obliged to move into tasks that are not easily automated. Traditional middle class roles disappear, forcing the affected individuals to become mind workers (knowledge workers), or settle for low-skill, low-wage service jobs.

Although, in many developing countries, agriculture still is the most important source of income, developed countries have for a long time been dependent upon the services industries. In Europe alone, the services sector holds a share of 70,7 % of Europe´s GDP (This Day Live. ILO: Weak Employment Growth Depressing Consumption. 21.10.2014; ESF – European Services Forum. Facts and Figures. 21.10.2014).    

According to Potts J.D. (2009. Why Creative industries matter to Economics of Innovation and New Technology) the service economy is continuously giving birth to new industries, in which creative industries form a significant part. Economic growth and development is an ongoing process, where an evolved order of agents, markets, enterprises, and laws result in an industry. Creative industries literally constantly contribute to creating the future, through experimentation, adoption, and retention of novelty.

In whatever direction evolution is heading, the fact is that the information age has changed, and affected, economies and societies on a global level. Technology has, at least on a virtual level, eradicated distance, affected global trade, given birth to a number of social media platforms and today, global enterprises that, through pioneering, have become global success stories, including names such as eBay, Amazon, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, just to mention a few amongst many others. 

O´Brien (1992), presented an idea about a state of economic development where geographical location would no longer matter e.g. in finance, giving rise to “placeless” production, networks, satellites, 24/5 trading in different time zones.  

Technology truly is a social process facilitating and enabling change, including space-shrinking versions and those which change production processes. Technological development has also led to the emergence of completely new industries, such as biotechnology and new (alternative) sources of energy. From an evolutionary perspective, technological development has led to advancement in transportation systems, communication systems, changes in manufacturing processes and spatial disintegration of service activities (offshoring). Production process technologies have evolved from Fordism to After-Fordism, including flexible specialization, Fordist mass production, Japanese Flexible Production, and Just-in-case, and Just-in-time systems. Socio-economic interaction requires relational thinking, with some operations requiring location, and spatial proximity.

Sources: 

Coe, N., Kelly, P., Yeung, H.W.C. Economic Geography: A Contemporary Introduction. 2007. Quoted 21.10.2014. 

Creativeclass.com. Services and Economic Development. Quoted 21.10.2014. 

ESF (European Services Forum). Facts and Figures. Quoted 21.10.2014. 

Potts, J. 2009. Why creative industries matter to economic evolution. Economics of Innovation and New Technology. Quoted 21.10.2014. 

Technologysource.org. Technology and Change for the Information Age. Quoted 21.10.2014. 

This Day Live. ILO: Weak Employment Growth Depressing Consumption. Quoted 21.10.2014. 

Wikipedia. Information Age. Quoted 21.10.2014. 

Wikipedia. The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom. Benkler, Y. 2006. Quoted 21.10.2014.  

World Bank. Growth of the Service Sector. Quoted 21.10.2014. 

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