chapter  Fifteen
19 Pages

Technological Advance: Unravelling the Strands

ByR. J. van Wyk

This chapter outlines a fresh intellectual discipline, increasingly referred to as 'the general theory of technology' in which an attempt is made to describe the phenomenon of technology. It deals with the dynamics of the technological totality that is becoming known as the 'technosphere'. The chapter reviews the early work describing and measuring technology, using orthodox economic analysis. The alternative approach using the concepts of the general theory of technology is introduced, and its application is discussed. One particular approach to macroeconomic analysis holds that the aggregate level of economic activity in a nation is determined by three inputs, namely: labour, capital and technology. A review of the treatment of technology in micro-economic analysis is a far more difficult undertaking than a review of the treatment of technology in macroeconomic analysis. The field of technological analysis provides two useful tools for visualizing technological change: a classification of technological artefacts and a standard set of technological trends.