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Whither the evolution of the contemporary social fabric? New technologies and old socio-economic trends

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  • Dosi, Giovanni
  • Virgillito, Maria Enrica

Abstract

The reflections which follow build on two interrelated questions, namely, first, whether we are witnessing another “industrial revolution”, and second, what is the impact of technological transformations upon the current dynamics of the socio-economic fabric, especially with respect to employment, income distribution, working conditions and labour relations. We argue that the processes of innovation and diffusion of what we could call “intelligent automation” are likely to change, or more likely reinforce, the patterns of distribution of income and power, which have been there well before the arrival of the technologies we are concerned about: some are indeed intrinsic features of capitalism since its inception, while others are features of the last thirtyforty years. First, we shall offer a fresco of such tendencies which certainly preceded any potential “Fourth Industrial Revolution” but are going to be amplified by the latter. Second, we discuss the features of such possible new techno-economic paradigms. Third, we examine the relationships between technology, productivity and growth, and the ensuing impact on jobs, division of labour, distribution of knowledge, power, and control. Finally, we address some policy implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Dosi, Giovanni & Virgillito, Maria Enrica, 2019. "Whither the evolution of the contemporary social fabric? New technologies and old socio-economic trends," GLO Discussion Paper Series 316, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:glodps:316
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    Cited by:

    1. Guendalina Anzolin, 2021. "Automation and its Employment Effects: A Literature Review of Automotive and Garment Sectors," JRC Working Papers on Labour, Education and Technology 2021-16, Joint Research Centre (Seville site).
    2. Armanda Cetrulo & Dario Guarascio & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2020. "Anatomy of the Italian occupational structure: concentrated power and distributed knowledge [How Europe’s economies learn: a comparison of work organization and innovation mode for the EU-15]," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 29(6), pages 1345-1379.
    3. Marco Guerrazzi, 2020. "Wage and employment determination in a dynamic insider–outsider model," Evolutionary and Institutional Economics Review, Springer, vol. 17(1), pages 1-23, January.
    4. Caselli, Mauro & Fracasso, Andrea & Marcolin, Arianna & Scicchitano, Sergio, 2021. "The reassuring effect of firms' technological innovations on workers' job insecurity," GLO Discussion Paper Series 938, Global Labor Organization (GLO).
    5. Filippo Bertani & Marco Raberto & Andrea Teglio, 2020. "The productivity and unemployment effects of the digital transformation: an empirical and modelling assessment," Review of Evolutionary Political Economy, Springer, vol. 1(3), pages 329-355, November.
    6. Dosi, Giovanni & Riccio, Federico & Virgillito, Maria Enrica, 2021. "Varieties of deindustrialization and patterns of diversification: why microchips are not potato chips," Structural Change and Economic Dynamics, Elsevier, vol. 57(C), pages 182-202.
    7. Montobbio, Fabio & Staccioli, Jacopo & Virgillito, Maria Enrica & Vivarelli, Marco, 2022. "Robots and the origin of their labour-saving impact," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 174(C).
    8. Lucrezia Fanti & Dario Guarascio & Massimo Moggi, 2020. "The development of AI and its impact on business models, organization and work," LEM Papers Series 2020/25, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    9. Sossdorf, Fernando, 2022. "Winners take all (the most): The effects of market concentration on labor share and wage inequality," MPRA Paper 113642, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    10. Marianna Epicoco, 2021. "Technological Revolutions and Economic Development: Endogenous and Exogenous Fluctuations," Journal of the Knowledge Economy, Springer;Portland International Center for Management of Engineering and Technology (PICMET), vol. 12(3), pages 1437-1461, September.
    11. Federico Riccio & Lorenzo Cresti & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2022. "The labour share along global value chains. Perspectives and evidence from sectoral interdependence," LEM Papers Series 2022/11, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    12. Angelo Moro & Matteo Rinaldini & Jacopo Staccioli & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2019. "Control in the era of surveillance capitalism: an empirical investigation of Italian Industry 4.0 factories," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 46(3), pages 347-360, September.
    13. Armanda Cetrulo & Alessandro Nuvolari, 2019. "Industry 4.0: revolution or hype? Reassessing recent technological trends and their impact on labour," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 46(3), pages 391-402, September.
    14. Fabio Montobbio & Jacopo Staccioli & Maria Enrica Virgillito & Marco Vivarelli, 2021. "Labour-saving automation and occupational exposure: a text-similarity measure," DISCE - Quaderni del Dipartimento di Politica Economica dipe0021, Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Dipartimenti e Istituti di Scienze Economiche (DISCE).
    15. G. Dosi & L. Fanti & M. E. Virgillito, 2020. "Unequal societies in usual times, unjust societies in pandemic ones," Economia e Politica Industriale: Journal of Industrial and Business Economics, Springer;Associazione Amici di Economia e Politica Industriale, vol. 47(3), pages 371-389, September.
    16. Jacopo Staccioli & Maria Enrica Virgillito, 2020. "The present, past, and future of labor-saving technologies," LEM Papers Series 2020/37, Laboratory of Economics and Management (LEM), Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa, Italy.
    17. Lundvall, Bengt-Åke & Rikap, Cecilia, 2022. "China's catching-up in artificial intelligence seen as a co-evolution of corporate and national innovation systems," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(1).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Social fabric; technology; macroeconomic development; division of labour; knowledge; inequality;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • O10 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - General
    • E6 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • F6 - International Economics - - Economic Impacts of Globalization

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