Economics and the Diffusion of Communication and Information Technologies: Joseph Schumpeter and the Self-organisation Approach

Economic motivations and economic processes play a key role in the emergence and diffusion of communication and information technologies. The objective of this paper is to offer an economic approach which is better suited to understanding such motivations and processes within an interdisciplinary context than the conventional, equilibrium-oriented, perspective. It is argued that many modern ‘neoclassical’ economists, stressing competition, have little in common with the old ‘classical’ tradition in economics, which was based on synergies. The ideas of Joseph Schumpeter are highlighted as a distinct alternative to neoclassical economics and viewed from a self-organisational perspective. It is explained that self-organisation in the economic domain is a related, but different, process to that identified by Ilya Prigogine in physio-chemical contexts. In particular, knowledge and informational considerations become central. A modelling strategy that can track self-organisational growth processes and provide an assessment of their structural stability is discussed.

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