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By Trevor I. Williams

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Extra info for A History of Technology. Volume VI, The Twentieth Century, c. 1900 to c. 1950. Part I

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Macmillan, London (1968). Hamberc, D. Research and development. Random House, New York (1966). F reeman, C. The plastics industry. National Institute Economie Review, November 1963. M ueller, W. F. The origins of the basic inventions underlying du Font’s major product and process innovations, 1920-1950. In N elson, R. R. ) The rate and direction of inventive activity. J. (1962). N elson, R. , Peck , M. , and K alachek, E. D. Technology, economic growth and public policy. C. (1967). , and H amburger, M.

L . Market structure and innovation: A survey. Journal of Economic Literature, March 1975. T HE G E N E R A L P I C T U R E 49 plastics, at another electronics and communications; the leaders of one period may be the laggards of the next. T he determinants of technological advance at any particular time or place are complexities we cannot hope to dispel here; the sources of innovation’are considered elsewhere (Ch. 2). But we may note the TH E E C O N O M I C S OF T E C H N O L O G I C A L light which J.

T h is phenomenon has become most marked in the years after 1950 and we shall not therefore pursue it further. N .? T h e final general point to be made on economics of technological develop­ T h e answer to this is generally agreed by economists; the level of technology ment is on the subject of technology itself. Technology toids to be regarded, determines the consumption of factors of production, labour, capital, and perhaps especially so by readers of a history o f technology, as a collection of materials, and improvements in technology make production more efficient machines or plants or productive systems.

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