Coevolving Innovations

… in Business Organizations and Information Technologies

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The new economy: from products to services, and from material to information

The “new economy” of the 21st century can be interpreted in many ways. One foreshadowing view appeared in 1973 with The Coming of Post-Industrial Society by Daniel Bell. It can take academics years to accumulate enough data as evidence of real societal change. I had seen some cool diagrams in a presentation by Uday Karmakar in April 2007, so I searched for some more background. On the Papers & Articles page at The Business and Information Technologies (BIT) Project, I found a June 2007 paper1. The tables at the end of the publication say three things:

  • The distribution of GNP (in the U.S.) has shifted from delivery forms of products to services; and from end products of material to information.
  • The annual growth rates of value added are much higher in end products of information than material.
  • Services dominate employment, and information workers are better paid.

To make these ideas more digestible, I’ve reoriented and colour-coded the data.

Distribution of GNP

Read this chart in the following way: the trends (i.e. the direction in which the lines are moving) have been a shrinking brown box in the upper left, with an expanding green box in the lower right.

The “new economy” of the 21st century can be interpreted in many ways. One foreshadowing view appeared in 1973 with The Coming of Post-Industrial Society by Daniel Bell. It can take academics years to accumulate enough data as evidence of real societal change. I had seen some cool diagrams in a presentation by Uday Karmakar in April 2007, so I searched for some more background. On the Papers & Articles page at The Business and Information Technologies (BIT) Project, I found a June 2007 paper1. The tables at the end of the publication say three things:

  • The distribution of GNP (in the U.S.) has shifted from delivery forms of products to services; and from end products of material to information.
  • The annual growth rates of value added are much higher in end products of information than material.
  • Services dominate employment, and information workers are better paid.

To make these ideas more digestible, I’ve reoriented and colour-coded the data.

Distribution of GNP

Read this chart in the following way: the trends (i.e. the direction in which the lines are moving) have been a shrinking brown box in the upper left, with an expanding green box in the lower right.

Canadians are less miserable

Japan would seem to be a wonderful place to live, socially and economically. Merrill Lynch ranks Canadians as #2 in the G7. Here’s a summary that I’ve put together from news sources.

  Misery index (2007) Misery index (2005)
Japan 1.6 < 3.2 (inferred)1
Canada 6.4 7.1
Germany 6.5 > 6.5 (inferred)1
Italy 13.9 15.4
France 15.2 14.7
United States 17.3 17.9
Britain 19.6 17.6

John Partridge, in the Globe & Mail, explains how these numbers are calculated:

Japan would seem to be a wonderful place to live, socially and economically. Merrill Lynch ranks Canadians as #2 in the G7. Here’s a summary that I’ve put together from news sources.

  Misery index (2007) Misery index (2005)
Japan 1.6 < 3.2 (inferred)1
Canada 6.4 7.1
Germany 6.5 > 6.5 (inferred)1
Italy 13.9 15.4
France 15.2 14.7
United States 17.3 17.9
Britain 19.6 17.6

John Partridge, in the Globe & Mail, explains how these numbers are calculated:

Books in print as scarce resources

I’m giving a lecture on business innovation at the University of Hull Business School this week. Preparing the lecture, I thought I might start with Schumpeter. Although some of the 1934 work, The Theory of Economic Development, is available on books.google.com, the more popular 1943 work, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (which writes more about “creative destruction“) isn’t.

Jennifer took me over to the University of Hull library, where there’s a really old volume, with the following publication information.

I’m giving a lecture on business innovation at the University of Hull Business School this week. Preparing the lecture, I thought I might start with Schumpeter. Although some of the 1934 work, The Theory of Economic Development, is available on books.google.com, the more popular 1943 work, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy (which writes more about “creative destruction“) isn’t.

Jennifer took me over to the University of Hull library, where there’s a really old volume, with the following publication information.

iPod Index, versus Big Mac Index

iPod cost chart

CNNMoney had a headline that the cheapest place in the world to buy an 2GB iPod Nano was in Canada.

Working from up from the bottom of the list, the next-cheapest locations for an iPod were in Hong Kong, Japan and the U.S.

The iPod is most expensive — by far — in Brazil, with India and Sweden next in line.

The writers point out that, at current exchange rates, the iPod is actually cheaper in Canada than in China, where the product is manufactured. Shipping costs seem to matter less than currency issues, with the U.S. dollar noted as undervalued.

On the other hand, The Economist recently posted its Big Mac Index. This long-running statistic had its 10th annual release in 1998, so we’re coming up to the 20-year point for that measure.

iPod cost chart

CNNMoney had a headline that the cheapest place in the world to buy an 2GB iPod Nano was in Canada.

Working from up from the bottom of the list, the next-cheapest locations for an iPod were in Hong Kong, Japan and the U.S.

The iPod is most expensive — by far — in Brazil, with India and Sweden next in line.

The writers point out that, at current exchange rates, the iPod is actually cheaper in Canada than in China, where the product is manufactured. Shipping costs seem to matter less than currency issues, with the U.S. dollar noted as undervalued.

On the other hand, The Economist recently posted its Big Mac Index. This long-running statistic had its 10th annual release in 1998, so we’re coming up to the 20-year point for that measure.

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    • 2019/04 Moments April 2019
      End of a 23-day visit in Shanghai, readjusting to Eastern Time with the many lecture, meetup, friends and family distractions of Toronto.
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      Month of intensive lectures and research meetings, in Toronto and then in Shanghai, with social breaks on local excursions to clear minds.
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      Reduced exercise outside with a cold and snowy February, with excursions out of the house to warm places with family, friends and colleagues.
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      January in Toronto has lots of intellectual offerings and artistic exhibitions to attract the curious out of warm homes, through cold and snow.
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