Alessandro Nuvolari

Industrial Revolutions and Economic Development: An Interpretative Framework Based on Development Blocks

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The article addresses the nature of current technological trends using an historical perspective. By comparing the concepts of long waves of capitalist development, general purpose technologies and development blocks, the article sheds light on the complex link between technological change and economic development. A heuristic framework based on a historical sequence of three industrial revolutions structured around different development blocks is suggested. Here, the notion of the fourth industrial revolution seems misleading: recent technological trends are intended as part of the long-term development of the interplay between technology and economy of the ICT revolution. In terms of public policy, the article suggests that proper attention should be given not only to the development of new technologies, but also to their integration with existing structures.


  • General purpose technologies
  • Development blocks
  • Long-term technological change


Article first page

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