From ‘Destructive Creation’ to ‘Creative Destruction’: Rethinking Science, Technology and innovation in a Global Context

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There is general agreement amongst economists today that Science, Technology and Innovation (STI)2 have dramatically contributed to individual countries’ economic growth and welfare.  Another, 21st  Century way of looking at the old Solow residual discussion is to observe that STI has been the core  factor behind the intrinsic characteristic of capitalism to accumulate indefinitely. Doing so STI has also  created the seeds of the current pattern of unsustainable global development.  Once the major driving  forces of countries’ international, technological competitiveness are taken into account, “smart”,  innovation‐led growth and “sustainable”, green growth appear in contradiction with each other.  The  paper makes the case for “smart” no longer be leading in STI policy but rather “sustainability”.  Four  priority “directions” are suggested: radical improvements in eco‐productivity reducing the energy and  emissions intensity of production, distribution and consumption; biomimicry as sustainable product  innovation guiding principle; the use of AI and big data as “sustainable purpose technologies” assisting  and complementing growth in eco‐productivity and green product development and design; and finally  regulatory and taxing policies addressing over‐consumption, including advertising.  In so far as  sustainability and inclusiveness are also in contradiction with each other, there is also need for specific  proactive, integrated “eco‐social” STI policies. Global sustainable development will only be successful if  it supported by all classes in society. While for high income classes priority can be given to increased  taxation, for low income classes there is a need for a more comprehensive green new deal that should  include house retrofitting and social energy tariffs making the energy transition cheap. Finally the  research community itself should put full priority to exploit fully the digital substitution advantages of  research networking, rather than air travel.  

Science, Technology and Innovation; smart growth; sustainable development; inclusiveness.