Nick Ashford: Technology, Globalization and Sustainable Development: Transforming the Industrial State

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Presentation at the STEPS Conference 2010 - Pathways to Sustainability: Agendas for a new politics of environment, development and social justice …

Presentation at the STEPS Conference 2010 - Pathways to Sustainability: Agendas for a new politics of environment, development and social justice

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  • 1. TECHNOLOGY, GLOBALIZATION AND SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT: Transforming the Industrial State Nicholas A. Ashford Professor of Technology & Policy Massachusetts Institute of Technology Copyright © 2010 Nicholas A. Ashford
  • 2.  
    • Fragmentation of the knowledge base
    • Inequality of access to economic & political power
    • Tendency towards ‘Gerontocracy’
      • technological and political ‘lock-in’
      • usually, but not always, accompanied by concentration of economic and political power
    • Market imperfections -- prices don’t reflect real costs of goods and services
    • Limitations of perfectly-working markets
      • Disparate time horizons - costs now, benefits later
      • Delay in recognizing problems (Limits to Growth)
      • Inappropriate production & consumption patterns
    • Failure to engage individuals in the society to realize their human potential ~ social exclusion
    • Corruption
  • 4. Drivers of Economic Growth
    • Technological Innovation (Schumpeter’s ‘waves of creative destruction’)
      • exploiting innovative potential
    • Trade (Ricardo’s theory of comparative advantage)
      • exploiting excess capacity
  • 5. Technological change and globalization (trade) as drivers of change within and between three operationally-important dimensions of sustainability Environment Technological change & globalization (trade) Work Economy Copyright © 2006 by Nicholas A. Ashford.
  • 6. The Efficient Frontier for Current and Future Technology Contrasting Sustaining and Disrupting Innovation Cost Performance Current Existing Technology Future Technology (Disrupting Innovation) C 1 A B C C 2 P 1 P 2 Sustaining Innovation New Sustaining Technology
  • 7. The Importance of Work and the Workplace
    • Work is combined with physical and natural capital to produce goods & services.
    • The workplace is the place where comparative advantage is exchanged - i.e., a marketplace.
    • Work is the main means of distributing wealth and creating purchasing power.
    • Work provides a means of engagement in the society.
    • The workplace provides an important social environment and mechanism for enhancing self esteem.
    • Industrial & economic policy, trade policy, and environmental policy have important consequences for employment and OH&S
  • 8. Theoretical implications of decreasing labor content for employment and for the environment
    • Lower costs of goods and services
    • Lower prices
    • Increased demand and sale of goods and services
      • in the original industry/market
      • in new markets (influenced by increases in disposable income and producer-created demand)
    • Are more workers hired than displaced?
      • It depends on whether growth in production outstrips (capital) productiveness growth
    • May require or stimulate a continual throughput economy with increasing consumption
      • => adverse effects on environmental sustainability
  • 9. Improving labor Productivity
    • increase worker skills
      • increase labor productiveness
      • rewards to workers are increased
    • use/develop better hardware, software, and manufacturing systems
      • increase capital productiveness
      • workers’ share of profits are decreased
    • better matching of labor with natural/physical capital, and with information & communication systems
      • increase joint labor and capital productiveness
      • rewards are increased for both owners and workers
      • human-centered knowledge-based work has the potential, if designed properly
  • 10. III IV V Environment Technological change & globalization Work Economy Toxic Pollution Climate Change Ecosystem Disruption Resource Depletion ● Skills ● Wages ● Purchasing Power ● Job Security ● Health and Safety ● Job Satisfaction ● Number of Jobs ● Changing international division of labor ● Changes in the nature of work ● Development & environment (industrialization) ● Investment & environment ● Trade & environment ● Improvements in competitiveness, productiveness, and the use of physical, natural, & human capital ● Economic changes (arising from labor replacement & capital relocation ● Financing growth and development ● Increased environmental footprint from the need to increase employment & industrial throughput I II VI ● Regulation of Health, Safety & Environment Affects the Economy and Growth. ● Environmental/energy improvements create or change the nature of employment.
    • ● trans-disciplinary expertise
    • ● the emergence of new ways to meet the basic needs of the society,
    • ● re-conceptualizing the basis of the economy
    • ● the avoidance of agenda and pathway capture or lock-in by incumbent actors and ideology
    • ● technological displacement and substitution of new for old technology
    • ● in some cases, the displacement of not only the dominant products and technologies, but also the incumbent firms and public institutions
    • ● co-optimization: co-evolution of technological and social systems, institutions  complementary and mutually-reinforcing technological, organizational, institutional, and social innovations
    • ● system changes that cut across problem areas -- competitiveness, environment, and employment -- and therefore also cut across sectors and firm divisions, as well as government departments and missions.
  • 12. Environmental Justice Climate Change Economic Inequality Competitiveness (effective and efficient delivery of goods and services) Employment Resource Depletion Biodiversity/ Ecosystems DOE DOD/ DHS DOL/ ED USDA DOC DOC Economic Development Social Development Environmental Protection Toxic Pollution Government activity areas Key: Challenges confronting sustainable development Peace and Security Employment Transportation Energy Defense Manufacturing Housing and Urban Dev. Health and Environment Agriculture Purchasing Power (job creation) & HHS/EPA HUD