Beyond the Technological Revolution

Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital

The Beyond the Technological Revolution (BTTR) project, and the book that will result, picks up the thread begun in Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages (TRFC). Published by Edward Elgar in 2002, this seminal book on the relationship between technological change, economic growth and development was the culmination of years of research carried out by Professor Perez, beginning with her investigations into the energy crisis in the 1970s.

See Past Papers for a detailed breakdown of the development of the theory presented in TRFC.


Part One

Part One of Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital lays out Perez’ theory of technological revolutions: the dating of each of the five major technological and economic shifts suggested by her research and the four basic phases of each of these ‘great surges of development’. Research for BTTR focuses on the ‘Deployment’ phase, a detailed description of which can be found in TRFC chapter 4: The Propagation of Paradigms: Times of Installation, Times of Deployment.

Part One also briefly examines the different roles played by finance, the state, markets and civil society in the installation and deployment phases of each new techno-economic paradigm. Chapter 3 of this section introduces the importance of ‘The Social Shaping of Technological Revolutions’ – a key element of the current research.

Part Two

Part Two focuses on the changing behaviour of financial capital throughout each surge of development. Five context-dependent behaviours are explored:

  • Maturity: financial capital plants the seeds of the next wave of ‘creative destruction’ at the end of each surge
  • Irruption: the love affair of financial capital with the emerging technology
  • Frenzy: flush with initial success, self-sufficient financial capital turns from speculating in new technologies to gambling with financial instruments
  • The Turning Point: frenzy results in a bubble and then a crash, resulting in the need for rethinking, regulation and changeover
  • Synergy: back to investing in the production economy, regulated finance supports the expansion of the paradigm across the production structure

Perez explores the difference between financial capital and production capital, and analyses ‘The Changing Nature of Financial and Institutional Innovations’.


The epilogue to Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital is entitled ‘The World at the Turning Point’  More than a decade on, according to Perez, we are still stuck in this turning point. By studying the history of previous turning points and deployment periods in depth, Beyond the Technological Revolution aims to analyse and explore the potential role of the state in the deployment period of the current Information and Communications Technology paradigm in the same way that TRFC sought to understand the role of finance in the installation of that paradigm.

‘This is a smashing book. It informs us that the emphasis on finance that marked the excesses of the 1990s has historically occurred with each great wave of new technologies, only to later shift the focus back to production. Fascinating. May the shift happen again soon.'

Richard R. Nelson (Columbia University)

'It was Carlota Perez in the early 1980s, who designated the major changes in technology systems, such as mechanization, electrification or computerization, as ''changes of techno-economic paradigm'' a designation which has since been widely adopted. In this book she offers many new insights into these complex processes of social, economic and technological change. She traces the interactions between that part of the economy commonly known as ''financial capital'' and the evolution of technologies. Although this was an important aspect of Schumpeter's original work, it has been neglected by his followers, so that the book fills an important gap in the literature on business cycles and innovations. I most strongly commend it to all those attempting to understand the past and future evolution of technology and the economy.'

Christopher Freeman (Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex, UK and Maastricht University, The Netherlands)

'Carlota Perez's insightful analysis of the rapid growth and diffusion of new technologies in general, and Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) in particular, is a welcome antidote to the bullish and ahistorical hyperbole of the datacom era. . . Do read the book. It is important. It is accessible. It is well presented. It is also fun.'

Raphie Kaplinsky (Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex) in Technovation

Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages (2002), Edward Elgar, Cheltenham, UK, 198 pages, ISBN 1 84064 922 4

The full Table of Contents, other sample chapters (including the introduction) and academic reviews are available at

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