Simon Head: Innovation And Its Potential To Damage Society


The Institute For New Economic Thinking (INET) has the interview Simon Head: Innovation And Its Potential To Damage Society.

The benefits of innovation are seldom questioned. Virtually every single growth initiative formulated by governments around the world to deal with today’s challenging economic conditions invariably circles back to the need to promote innovation as a panacea.

But what if innovation is not an unalloyed good for society? What if it simply adds to our current dystopian dysfunction?


It is rather depressing to think that I have been part of the problem all along. What is ultimately questioned is the tendency in macro economics whether of the neo-liberal (conservative) kind or the progressive kind to think that more knowledge and control of the mechanics of the economy will lead to a better world.

More concern with the social impacts on individuals needs to get much more focus from the field of economics.

One of the things that struck me was the discussion about SAP. For one reason or the other, I am quite aware of the world wide dominance of this German company in the field of software for managing large corporations. In a thoroughly scientific, 100% sample of people sitting in my home office with me, I find, as expected, that the general population has no awareness of what SAP is nor of its dominance in the world of corporate management software. I fear that people hearing the interview might think the interviewee is some wild eyed academic who is fretting over some irrelevant, unknown company.

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