Progresso tecnico e sistemi tecnologici
The analysis of technological change is gaining ground within economics. This work tackles some of the basic characteristics that emerge from the new analyses concerned with technological change. After briefly recalling the way in which different schools of thought have taken into account technological change, our analysis goes on along a Schumpeterian-evolutionary path. We thus refer to concepts and Authors which belong to this school. We reconsider the original concept of scientific paradigm, and point to its applicability to technology. Then we take into account three different dimensions of technology, namely technology as "knowledge", technology as "skills" and technology as "artifacts". The recomposition of these dimensions occurs within a systemic view. Such a view is reinforced when we look at two different ways in which technology is reproduced within the system: we have in fact distinguished between the symbolic and the material form of reproduction. A series of concepts is recalled, sometimes exceeding the limits of economics to reach the engineering realm. The systemic picture is completed by the institutions, defined as intentional homeostatic mechanisms, partly rendered necessary by endogenous economic mechanisms. There emerges a final image of a technological system in which endogenous dynamics create disequilibria whose effects are far from being deleterious. Finally, the notion of a "technology support system" is proposed as a tool of technology policy.
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