ICTs & Techno-Economic Paradigms

Although much of my research life has been spent on micro-level enquiry, I have constantly been aware of the need to imbed this detailed enquiry in a larger story. In my early career this took me to the political economy of capitalism and socialism and to research into Appropriate Technology and the determinants of technological progress. However, during my collaboration with colleagues at the Science Policy Research Unit at Sussex University my world view was transformed by the writings of Chris Freeman and colleagues (and more recently especially by Carlota Perez) on systemic transitions between socio-technical and techno-economic paradigms. I have little doubt that we are witnessing such a transition and that this transition can only be understood as involving the coevolution of the economy, society and the environment.

The road to this research agenda involved an accretion of individual projects focusing on microelectronics based innovations, automation, new forms of work organisation, the character of mass production and the maturation of the ICT revolution.

In the list of publications below I highlight what I consider to be my significant contributions to this agenda.


Sustainable Futures – An Agenda for Action, Cambridge: Polity Press, 2021.

Easternisation: The Spread of Japanese Management Techniques to Developing Countries, London: UNU/Frank Cass, 1994.

Computer Aided Design in a Dynamic World: Electronics, Comparative Advantage and Development, London: Francis Pinter, 1982.

Automation:  The Technology and Society, London: Longmans, London: 1984.

‘Technique and System:  The Spread of Japanese Management Techniques to LDCs’, World Development, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 57-72, 1985.

Microelectronics and Employment Revisited: A Review,  Geneva: ILO, 1987.  (Translated into Spanish, Microelectronica Y Empleo, Geneva: ILO, 1989).

‘Electronics-Based Automation Technologies and the Onset of Systemofacture: Some Implications for Third World Industrialisation’, World Development,  Vol 13 No 3, pp. 423-440.9, 1985. (Reprinted in Management of Interdependence, Autumn, 1985, Geneva: Centre for Applied Studies in International Negotiations).

‘La nueva flexibilidad: promotora de eficacia económica y social’, Economia y Sociologiá del Trabajo, Numero 19/20, Marzo-Junio, pp. 8-20, 1994.

‘From Mass Production to Flexible Specialization:  A Case-study of Micro-economic Change in a Semi-industrialised Economy’, World Development, 22/3, pp. 337-353, 1994.

‘Industrial  Restructuring:  Facilitating Organisational Change at the Firm Level’, World Development, Vol. 23 No. 1, pp. 129-142, 1995. (with John Bessant).

‘State Policies towards the Development and Diffusion of Microelectronics Technologies’, Vierteljahresberichte de Entwicklungslander forschung, Nr. 103, pp. 19-28, March 1986.

‘Computer-Aided Design: An Assessment of the Current International Economic Setting and Policy Implications’, Industry and Development, No 11 pp. 43-57, 1982, https://digitallibrary.un.org/record/88396?ln=en.

‘Is and what is post-fordism?’, in P W Schulze and J Willman (eds), Economic and Social Policy in Europe, Occasional Paper No 1, Friedrich Ebert Foundation, London, 1990.

‘Technological Revolution and the Restructuring of Trade and Production – Some Implications for Western Middle powers and the Newly Industrializing Countries’, in C Pratt (ed), Middle Power Internationalism: Experience, Opportunities, and Constraints,  Kingston, Queens University Press, 1990.

‘Industrial Restructuring in LDC’s: The Role of Information Technology’, in M. Fleury (ed), Padroes Tecnologicos e Politicas de Gestao: Comparacoes Internacionais, Sao Paolo, Universidade de Sao Poalo e Universidade Esrtadual de Campinas, 1989.

‘Technological change: The increasing costs of ‘keeping up’ in the microelectronics era’, in C.Stoneman  (ed), Zimbabwe’s Prospects, Macmillan, 1988.

‘Comparative Advantage by Design’, in R Langdon (ed), Technological Change and Design, London, Royal College of Art, 1985.

‘Trade in Technology – Who, What, Where and When?’ in M Fransman and K King, Technological Capability in the Third World, London, Macmillan, 1984.

‘The Technological Gap between DCs and LDCs in the Electronic Era’, in S Jacobssen and J Sigurdson (eds) Technological Trends and Challenges in Electronics – Dominance of the Industrial World and Responses in the Third World, 1982.