Schumpeter and the Endogeneity of Technology: Some American Perspectives
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Schumpeter's profoundly influential work developed the notion of the endogeneity of technology, and offered illuminating historical analyses of how and why some social systems have managed to generate innovation. This new interpretation explores Schumpeter's central ideas, and examines the ways in which the concept of endogeneity can illuminate recent American economic history.
not far from absorbing one half of university budgets (46.7 per cent).28 The present dominance of the life sciences in American universities reflects, of course, the expectation of eventual high economic and social returns to research in these fields, and the willingness of the federal government to invest in a field (healthrelated scientific research) that now has strong public support. Although comparable figures for the university R&D budgets of other OECD countries are not available, a
and motors), transistors, computers. These technologies have each provided a platform on which numerous complementary technologies have been built, and it is my belief that lasers are already well on the way to joining this small, exclusive club. These general purpose technologies (GPTs), as they have come to be called, are now beginning to receive considerable attention from economists. The fact that they have the common characteristic of providing opportunities for other technologies to be
the US chemical industry and then the world chemical industry shifted their resource base to petroleum feedstocks, creating the present-day petrochemical industry. America had substantial commercial advantages in the petrochemical industry. There were vast domestic deposits of petroleum, and this country had, at an early date, explored technological alternatives for petroleum refining. In doing so, it acquired chemical engineering capabilities in that activity that later “spilled over” from
relevance. “Potentially, the fluid technique has application to any process in which (1) large quantities of heat are transferred; (2) large quantities of solids must be circulated; or (3) very intimate contact between gases and solids is desired.”25 In fact, the potential uses are so great as to constitute the introduction of an entirely new unit operation. By 1962 it was estimated that there were 350 fluidized-bed processing units throughout the world outside the petroleum industry.26 At the
nature of the platform itself. Thus, chemical engineering did not emerge out of prior science; rather, as it matured, chemical engineering strengthened the opportunities for focusing scientific concepts and methodologies upon the problems with which it dealt. As a result, it eventually became more scientific. This chapter has emphasized the crucial role that one institution of higher education, MIT, played in the rise of chemical engineering. Some further aspects of the impact of that role ought