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Joel Mokyr

science allow scientists to design new synthetics that nature never had in mind. Such artificial materials, developed at the nano-technological level, promise the development of materials that deliver custom-ordered properties in terms of hardness, resilience, elasticity, and so on. New resins, advanced ceramics, new solids, and carbon nanotubes are all in the process of development or perfection. Artifical intelligence, lasers, and genetic engineering seem to qualify as general purpose technologies (GPTs) that have many applications across a wide spectrum of uses in

International Monetary Fund

technologies can generate a long-lasting acceleration of labor productivity if they stimulate complementary changes in business practices, e.g., in production processes and organizational structures, which generate further efficiency gains ( De Long and Summers, 2001 ). Such changes have been found to occur after the introduction of new “general purpose technologies”, for example, electrification at the end of the nineteenth century. 3 7. The broad-based acceleration of TFP growth after 1995 is consistent with the “general purpose technology” nature of ICT . Staff

International Monetary Fund
This Selected Issues paper examines the role of information and communication technology (ICT) in the recent acceleration of labor productivity growth in the United States. The analysis reveals that the increase of total factor productivity (TFP) growth is a broad phenomenon that encompasses non-ICT producing sectors, consistent with the view that ICT is a “general purpose technology.” The paper investigates whether the productivity boom may have dampened employment in recent years. It also assesses the contribution of immigrants to the United State economy.
International Monetary Fund. Communications Department
This paper focuses on smart policies that can alleviate the short-term pain of technological disruption and pave the way for long-term gain. As computing power improves dramatically and more and more people around the world participate in the digital economy, care should be taken about how to devise policies that will allow us to fully exploit the digital revolution’s benefits while minimizing job dislocation. Digital technology will spread further, and efforts to ignore it or legislate against it will likely fail. Even with short-term dislocations, reorganizing the economy around revolutionary technologies generates huge long-term benefits. The digital revolution should be accepted and improved rather than ignored and repressed. Given the global reach of digital technology, and the risk of a race to the bottom, there is a need for policy cooperation like that of global financial markets and sea and air traffic. The history of earlier general-purpose technologies demonstrates that even with short-term dislocations, reorganizing the economy around revolutionary technologies generates huge long-term benefits.