Few days ago I see a debate involving Patrick Artus, an economist.
Far from ideology he explains that there is a growing consensus that potential growth is decreasing with no apparent hope to grow again.
The specific problem countries like France, of obstacle to growth, unemployment, is not his subject, and he states that this have to be solved in locked economies like france, not to waste the tiny potential... This is not our question .
He explains the problem of decreasing growth is based on the decreasing efficiency of research and development, far from 1960s growth and innovation.
In all domain, but IT, the cost of creating an innovation some growth, grow exponentially. the cost of creating a new drug is growing exponentially. Same for a new microprocessor.
Some says we have taken all the "low hanging fruits", the technology progress that were easy to get.
He explain that Internet is not as important as we imagine, as between france and USA, the share of jobs is just from 4 to 3%, while Internet economy in France is very late, and we have no Internet giant...
Today creative-destruction is no more creating new better job, but transforming good jobs into low qualification service jobs.
He explains that current progress is much less important that was the steam engine, the electric engine, fire....
As on of the guest ask, would you abandon your iPhone, or tap water ?
Tap water, like most technology improvement of the pas industrial revolution gave us huge improvement of life, longevity, and allowed huge productivity improvement.
To that sad observation the techno-optimistic propose that Internet technology have an impact which is growing exponentially, self catalytic... Problem is that today we rather observe that cost of research per unit of innovation is growing exponentially.
I confirm that with the fact that for microelectronics, the moore law is endangered by a similar moore law on the cost of semiconductors factories.
They then discuss about the nature, the strange nature, of modern Internet/mobile new economics. It seems that Internet is really improving our life, but it is not creating so much taxable sales, nor jobs... It allows us to exchange services, without paying.
It joins what some economist state, that internet economy is deflationist, making us consume less in money, yet being as much as satisfied as before.
Some propose that Internet unlike what it seems, is not mature enough to revolution our lifestyle.
Internet is not so useful, at least much less than our car, our tap water, electric plug, our boiler or fridge, and as all what those technology allows, like food you can eat now, appliance you can use, clothes you can wear.
They propose the Internet, like electric engine, will take 30 years to have a real impact on useful productivity.
IT for example allows to increase administrative complexity, or decrease administrative costs, but does not yet create growth of the same size as did the car or the electricity.
Now it is time to add LENR in that equation ?
On the paper LENR is only reducing cost of Energy, which is 10% of GDP... the growth implied is the one we had every year in the 1960s.
more interesting, LENR may create new possibilities, like the fridge which allowed to eat new food in summer.
One key to innovation is competing on the non-consumption.
So maybe will LENr create more jobs where today no energy is used ?
Another remark is when I link LENR and computers, with the ideas of Jeremy Rifkins, proposed in "The 3rd industrial revolution".
I disagree with his detailed conclusions (because of LENR and others data I have), but his arguments are good.
An industrial revolution is the mix of an Information technology revolution with an energy revolution.
Steam engine and printing did the 19th century revolution. The 20th century revolution was oil and electronics... Nuclear energy did not ally with computers, so this was not a real revolution...
however LENR with internet may be an explosive cocktail for the economic growth.
This idea is proposed in an interesting way by Jed Rothwell in Cold Fusion and the Future.
Jed Rothwell proposes that LENR will create a boom of AI and robotics, because of the autonomy that LENR allows.
It seems very rational, but it is not the only synergetic revolution to expect.
LENR is naturally a local energy, and IT technology, big data, will allow smart grid to be efficient.
In a way smart car, based on LENR, AI, robotics, but also big data, smart cities concepts, may revolution the transportation system, with both increased comfort, but also reduced cost, and increased offers.
Is it too optimistic ?
the first reason to cool our optimism is the time factor. Every time there is a revolution, like Internet, people imagine that it will be faster, it will be like never before, and every time it takes 30 to 60 years to be integrated into the society.
Anyway there is really new opportunities to accelerate the engine of growth, the innovation !
The idea of LENRG by LENR-Cities is for example to accelerate the innovation by exploiting the huge desire of all actors, investors, scientists, engineers, industrialists. This is really new as old-revolution was based on hierarchy and salary, not on entrepreneurship and shared goals. can it accelerate the revolution ?
Can crowdfunding helps too ? what about crowdsourced science ? open peer review ?
It looks promising but the obstacle to those acceleration opportunities are huge too. Finance is regulated to protect dumb citizen and economic rents, science is structured by old strates of power, and scientific publication is structured by academic practices and regulations.
How innovation "works" is really the key question.
This article propose a vision of how work and entrepreneurship is evolving, and how the industrial economy is being replaced by an economy where the infrastructure to capitalize is "the multitude", users, providers, supporters, peers, and not the machine capital...
The innovators dilemna by Clayton Christansen gives also interesting vision on innovation
as the French author of "Effectuation", Philippe Silberzahn explains on his blog:
Finally There is more questions, and subjects to studies than definitive conclusions .
Once you share the knowledge on LENR there is are much fear as there is hope, of a future economic growth or stagnation.
Anyway it seems that with or without growth, our comfort will increase on average, and that if economic measured growth stall, we will have to find a way to distribute the deflationist growth to the population.
It seems that old mechanism that we use in Europe will no more work, but maybe LENR CHP, Uber car, shares of Botcars, AirBnB pocket money, crowdbuilding, 3D Printers, crowd-design may redistribute wealth in a better way than social security...
Maybe I am too optimistic ?