Technology and the Future of Growth: Challenges of Change

Technology and the Future of Growth: Challenges of Change

Economic growth has been moderate for more than ten years, and this happened when economies were going through many changes. What are the forces of change, how do they influence growth dynamics and what are the implications for policy? A recently published book, “Growth in a Time of Change,” addresses these questions.

Three basic ingredients drive economic growth: productivity, capital, and labour. All three face new challenges in a changing context. The main driver of change is technology, with digital transformation as its spearhead.

A Delay in Productivity and Investment

Productivity is the main long-term propeller of economic growth, and Technology-assisted innovation is the main driver for productivity growth. But paradoxically, productivity growth has slowed as digital technologies have boomed. In the advanced economies of the past 15 years, it has averaged less than half the pace of the previous 15 years. Companies on the technological frontier have made significant productivity gains, but the impact on broad productivity across all firms has been small. New technologies tend to produce winners that deliver the most results. Dominant firms have gained more market power, market structures have become less competitive, and business dynamics have declined.

The investment was also weak in most major economies. Despite historically low interest rates, the continued weakness in investment has raised concerns about the risk of “secular stagnation”. Productivity growth has been weak, investment has been weak, too, and both have been bolstered by changes in market structures and dynamics.


Technology has profound implications for labour markets. Automation and digital advancements are shifting the demand for labour from low-to-mid-level routine skills to higher and more advanced analytical, technical, and managerial skills. However, on the supply side, equipping workers with skills that complement the new technologies has lagged, hindering the wider diffusion of innovation within economies. Education and training are losing the race to technology.

Most major economies face the challenge of an ageing population. Many of them also see a levelling off in increasing the population’s labour participation and primary education. These trends place an even greater emphasis on productivity and the technological innovations that drive it to deliver economic growth.


Growth has also become less inclusive. Income inequality has increased in most major economies, and in some, such as the United States, the increase has been particularly pronounced. The new technologies in favour of capital and higher skills have contributed to a decrease in the share of labour in income and increased wage inequality. They have also been associated with more concentrated industry structures and high economic rents enjoyed by dominant firms. Income has shifted from labour to capital, and the distribution of income from labour and capital has become more unequal.

Rising inequality and fear of jobs have contributed to heightened social tensions and political divisions. Populism has increased in many countries. The nationalist and protectionist sentiment is on the rise, with a backlash against international trade, which, in addition to technological change, exacerbates inequality with job losses and wage stagnation for low-skilled workers.


While income inequality has increased in many countries, inequality has decreased as faster-growing emerging economies narrow the income gap with advanced economies. Technology poses new challenges for this economic convergence. Production-led growth in emerging economies has been the dominant driver of convergence, fueled by their comparative advantage in labour-intensive manufacturing based on their large pool of low-skilled, low-paid workers. Such a comparative advantage fades when low-skilled jobs are automated, making it important to find new ways to grow in line with technology.


Technological changes that reshape growth will only accelerate as artificial intelligence, advanced robotics, and cyber-physical systems take the digital revolution to another level. We may be on the cusp of what’s been called the “Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).” Globalization is also becoming more and more digital, called “Globalization 4.0.”

Related books

Recently, technological changes have not reached their full potential in terms of boosting productivity and economic growth. It has exacerbated income inequality and raised fears of an “apocalypse,” or massive job losses due to automation. However, this should not cause despair.

Advances in digital technologies have significant potential to boost productivity and economic growth and create new and better jobs to replace old ones. Two-thirds of the potential productivity growth in major economies over the next decade could be related to new digital technologies. But technological change is inherently disruptive and involves difficult transitions. As does globalization, it also inevitably creates winners and losers. Policy plays a crucial role. Unfortunately, they have been slow to adapt to the challenges of change. Better results are possible with improved and more responsive policies.

An Agenda to Maximize the Potential of New Technology

The core of the future policy plan is to better utilize the potential of new technologies. Reforms should aim to improve the favourable environment for businesses and workers—to broaden access to opportunities arising from technological change and increase their ability to adapt to new challenges.

  • As technological change transforms the business world, policies and institutions that drive the markets must keep pace. Competition policy needs to be revised for the digital age to ensure that markets continue to provide an open and level playing field for businesses, keep competition strong and curb the growth of monopolistic structures. New regulatory issues related to data, the lifeblood of the digital economy, need to be addressed. Market flexibility will be key to facilitating adaptation to disruptions and structural shifts from digital transformation.
  • The innovation ecosystem must continue to push the technological frontier and promote the wider economic impacts of the new developments. Research and development systems and patent systems need to be improved as knowledge becomes more important to economic success. This is because new technologies that use new knowledge must spread more widely.
  • The foundation of digital infrastructure and digital literacy needs to be strengthened. The digital divide is narrowing, but large gaps remain.
  • Investment in education and training should be stimulated and refocused to focus on the skills for future jobs. As the old career path of “learning-work-retirement” gives way to continuous learning, employee upskilling and lifelong learning programmes need to be scaled up. The key to winning the race with technology is not competing with machines but competing with them.
  • Labour market policies need to become more forward-looking, shifting the focus from protecting existing jobs to improving workers’ ability to change jobs. Social protection systems, traditionally based on formal, long-term employer-employee relationships, need to be adapted to a more dynamic labour market. Social contracts need to be realigned with the changing nature of work.
  • Tax systems need to be reviewed in light of the new tax challenges of the digital economy, including the implications of the transformations taking place in business and work and the new dynamics of the income distribution. The potential tax reform plan includes labour, capital, and wealth taxes.

Reforms are also needed at the international level, although the dominant part of the agenda to make technology and globalization work better rests above all on policy at the national level. Not only do past successes in building a rules-based international trading system need to be protected from protectionist headwinds, but new disciplines need to be devised for the next stage of globalization, led by digital flows, to ensure open access and fair competition. Sensible migration policies can complement national policies, such as pension reforms and lifelong learning to mitigate the effects of an ageing population.

The era of smart machines promises a lot. With smart policies, the future can be stronger and more inclusive growth. Software like Roofing software helps in city planning very easily.

Roofing Software To Help City Planning

Roofing Software To Help City Planning

Building owners and local residential roof repair contractors have been using cool roofing products for commercial, industrial, and residential buildings for over 20 years. They can be installed on low-pitched roofs (such as the flat or slightly pitched roofs typical of commercial, industrial, and office buildings) or the steep-pitched roofs used in many residential and commercial buildings.

High solar reflectance, or albedo, is the most important characteristic of a cool roof, as it helps to reflect sunlight and heat away from a building, lowering the roof temperature. High thermal emissions also play a role, especially in warm and sunny climates. Together, these properties ensure that roofs absorb less heat and remain up to 28–33°C cooler than conventional materials during peak summer weather. There are many new techs to develop a City.

The EPA and the Department of Energy (DOE) help consumers and other buyers identify the most energy-efficient roofing products through the ENERGY STAR program. Roofing materials with the ENERGY STAR label meet the minimum solar reflectance and reliability criteria. EXIT, EXIT EPA WEBSITE. It’s been more than 15 years since the data from 2006 came in. ENERGY STAR partners made shipments of chilled roofing products more than 25% of the time for commercial roofs and 8% for homes.

Costs and benefits

Cool roofs provide several benefits beyond mitigating urban heat islands, including:

As this house shows, cool-colored metal roofs lend themselves well to the market with steep slopes. (Photo courtesy of CRRC/Custom-Bilt Metals)

  • Less energy consumption: A cool roof gives off less heat to the underlying building, keeping the building cooler and using less energy for air conditioning.
  • Reduced air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions: By reducing energy consumption, cool roofs reduce the production of associated air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. 
  • Improved human health and comfort: Cool roofs can lower the air temperature in air-conditioned and non-air-conditioned buildings, preventing heat-related illness and death. 

Cool roofs lead to some desired heat gain in winter. In general, however, cool roofs lead to net energy savings, especially in high electricity prices.

While costs can vary widely depending on location and local conditions, cool roof coatings on a low-pitched roof can cost $0.75–$1.50 per square foot, while single-ply cool roof membrane costs range from $1.50–$1.50 per square foot. Each square foot costs $3.00.The cost premium for cool roofs versus conventional roofing materials ranges from 0 to 5 or 10 cents per square foot for most products or from 10-20 cents for a built-up roof with a cool coating used in place of smooth asphalt or aluminum coating. 2

A California study found that cool roofs yield an average annual net savings of nearly 50 cents per square foot. This number includes the price premium for cool roofing products and increased heating costs in the winter, energy savings in the summer, savings from downsizing cooling equipment, and lower labor and material costs over time due to the longer lifespan of cool roofs in comparison with conventional roofs.

For more information

More details are available in chapter four of the EPA’s Reducing Urban Heat Islands: Compendium of Strategies, which covers the following topics: 

  • The cool roof features that aid in the reduction of urban heat islands
  • Types of cool roofing
  • The Benefits and Costs of Cool Roofs
  • Measurement and certification of cooling roof products
  • Installation and maintenance of cooling roofs
  • Tools and resources to further explore this technology
Developing Cities With New Tech

Developing Cities With New Tech

The following is a guest post from Clint Vince, President of Dentons’ US Energy Practice and Co-Chair of Dentons’ Global Energy Sector, and Jennifer Morrissey, Consultant to Dentons’ Energy Practice.

Amid the massive urban growth worldwide, there is a huge hype in town halls, boardrooms, and the media about making cities and communities “smarter”—but the definition of a “smart city” is elusive.

Talks about smart cities often convey complexity, primarily focusing on technology. And while technology is the most important factor for smart cities, it is not an end. Many things can be done in a smart city to improve people’s lives. These include using new technology and making decisions based on data.

The concept of smart cities is relatively simple and elegant. A smart city uses an integrated approach to coordinate all essential services. It modernizes digital, physical, and social infrastructure to make the delivery of city services more efficient, innovative, equitable, connected, safer, sustainable, and exciting. And in an era when two-thirds of the world’s population is expected to migrate to cities in just one generation, the transition to smarter cities and communities couldn’t be more urgent.

More than half the world’s population now lives in urban areas. Cities produce 80% of global GDP and produce 70% of CO2 emissions. The projected growth trajectory for urban environments means that cities will face increasing challenges in all aspects of their business operations-including social imbalances, traffic congestion, pollution, and resource strain-if action is not taken.

There are mayors worldwide who think smart technology can help improve the quality of life in cities, which will attract investment and lead to positive growth.

There are many ways to think about a “smart city,” but any project that will be a success will focus on five main areas: backbone infrastructure, leadership structures in cities and communities, sustainable services, new technology, and the social infrastructure of the community.

Grid modernization is the essential platform for smart development

Modernizing “the grid,” which is the backbone of any smart community, will help people connect more.

Grid modernization starts with the electrical system and then with advanced telecommunications, mobility systems, and smart buildings as the essential foundation for the city as a whole. The grid will become the nerve center that powers the Internet of Things (IoT), artificial intelligence (AI), electric vehicles (EVs), and more.

All of these components become hosts for sensor technologies that allow data collection to support planning, management, and operations in the city or community and privacy and data sharing strategies to be interwoven with the infrastructure as it is upgraded or deployed.

Focusing on network modernization first and then advanced telecommunications and transportation also benefit from known and proven financing models that help a city or community advance its efforts. Other parts of a smart city plan require creative thinking and collaboration between groups that have worked together in the past.

Leadership, policy, and regulation are the drivers of investment and growth.

Courageous leadership, forward-looking policies, and flexible regulatory structures must be developed to develop a truly smart city. To safely, fairly, and cost-effectively scale infrastructure to meet the needs of the future, government officials, policymakers, and leaders of cities and communities must create a new paradigm.

Today, some of the biggest problems are a lack of comprehensive decision-making, problems getting enough money, and different regulatory bodies on issues that need to be dealt with together.

Infrastructure integration must go beyond physical technologies to include the institutional structures that define how the physical structures are established, financed, and managed. City and community leaders, regulators, and planners need to create incentives for businesses of all sizes to invest in implementing and applying advanced technologies while ensuring residents’ trust and safety.

Sustainable services improve the quality of life and reduce financial, health, and safety risks.

Research indicates a strong correlation between the environmental performance of cities and their prosperity. Municipalities need to think about how to be more environmentally friendly and deal with a changing climate in some places.

This requires rapid acceleration towards cleaner, healthier, and more economically viable urban growth through efficiencies, investment in renewable energy technologies, and associated regulatory reform. It also requires greening urban infrastructure, transport, land use, and development policies. Failure to make this shift increases financial, public health, and security risks. Digital security and safety must also be addressed as the risks of cyber intrusion increase as the digital infrastructure grows.

Partnerships with innovation centers ensure the adoption of best technologies and practices.

The concept of “connectedness” goes far beyond sensors and apps. Technology, used properly, can help cities enjoy more of all the things communities value—including parks, neighborhoods, public spaces, and economic opportunities.

The use of advanced technologies does not necessarily mean that everything is new. Advanced analytics can integrate and improve existing systems using data already collected for other purposes, increasing efficiencies and lowering the cost of service delivery. This provides enormous benefits for residents and cities, which often operate with limited budgets.

Smart community leadership will also leverage relationships with innovators—technologists, government labs, universities, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs)—already working to address the challenges facing cities and communities today and in the future. These entities already serve as a testing ground for technologies, practices, and ideas that can be shared with community leaders, businesses, and residents for the benefit of all.

Attention to the social infrastructure of the community is indispensable.

Cities are primarily focused on people, and smart cities and community programs should aim to improve the lives of city residents. Whether the existing digital and physical infrastructure is being upgraded or modernized, or a new city is being built where there was none before, the purpose of the city is to be a home, workplace, and playground for its residents.

Building broad community support for any smart city or community program is a complex process that requires significant engagement with and collaboration with community anchor institutions and individual stakeholders. People can only make a smart community grow and thrive if they interact with and use the resources and services.

Given the scale of modernization that must occur at the physical, digital, and social levels and the extraordinary pace at which new technology is catching up with social infrastructure, cities, and communities need to “up their game” with a greater sense of focus and urgency. Most are lagging far behind compared to the speed at which urban migration occurs. Most aren’t doing enough to set up government structures that can handle the modernization of urban infrastructure on the whole and integrated level and come up with ways to pay for everything.

Critical projects must be conceived and selected through a rigorous public process. Public-private partnerships and other sources of financing need to be developed quickly. Privacy, data sharing, and other elements of a good social infrastructure must be established at the beginning of the process. And flexibility must be built into the planning structure to accommodate rapid changes in all aspects of the endeavor and technological development.

How Construction Technology Is Revolutionizing the Industry

How Construction Technology Is Revolutionizing the Industry

As the demand for construction at home and abroad grows, companies have to keep up. Construction companies are tackling expansion by adopting new technology in construction. There are so many different technologies available today, and new technologies continue to force construction companies to evolve.

How is technology in construction changing the way you do business? It turns out that technology touches almost every aspect of your business. Read on to learn about the changes technology is bringing to the industry.

New materials and new methods

Technological advancements in construction have changed the way almost everything is done. One of the most noticeable areas of change is the materials used. New technologies enable innovative steps, such as recycling concrete. Scientists are also hard at work developing more environmentally friendly materials. Carbon fibre shows its strength as a construction material.

Technical tools are also changing the way construction companies work with these materials. Prefabrication is nothing new, but 3D printers are. Innovative companies are experimenting with 3D printing entire buildings. Once printed, the sections can be moved to the job site and assembled.

A revolution on the job site

Technology in construction is also changing the workplace itself. Drones are being adopted on a large scale, and these tools enable more accurate surveying, even from a remote location.

Drones and mobile devices also have other benefits for the construction site. It is easier to keep track of what materials you need and how many you need to order with them. This capability can save businesses money as it reduces material waste.

Thanks to new technology, job boards are also more connected than ever before. If a site is short on material, you can check in at other places. Then you can send the material instead of ordering more. Drones can also monitor productivity, and they can even notify customers when to expect task completion. Live construction drawings provide another way to keep customers informed.

Construction technology makes the job site safer. 

Improved safety is another benefit of technological advancements in construction. Drones and mobile devices make it easier to view the job site from remote locations. Employees can report hazards earlier, and you can provide instructions to deal with these hazards efficiently.

Technology can even help your employees stay safe by alerting them. Helmets are mandatory safety equipment, but they are now becoming wearable technology. Special lenses and augmented reality capabilities can provide early warnings about dangers. Wearable technology can also track how much time someone has spent on the job site. Rest and breaks are essential, and tired workers are more prone to making mistakes that lead to injury.

Machine learning and predictive analytics: 

Advances in artificial intelligence (AI) have allowed many industries to integrate this technology. The construction industry continues to adopt AI steadily. One of the best-known examples is driverless vehicles, and no construction company has yet adopted these vehicles on a large scale. Driverless cars are likely to replace drivers soon.

AI has many other uses for construction companies. These technologies require huge amounts of data to “learn”. You can also make this data available for your business analytics. Predictive analytics uses this data to determine what is likely to happen. Some AIs may be able to predict when to order certain materials. Others will help you find problems on the job site and advise you on avoiding them.

Predictive analytics and machine learning can help you market more effectively. It can also improve safety around the job site, and it can even help you make better schedules for your employees.

New simulated realities bring projects to life. The

Technologies that have generated the most buzz are virtual and augmented reality. The case of virtual reality shows how technology is changing construction. You no longer have to present potential customers with 2D drawings or 3D models, and you can create an immersive VR experience. This also improves your design and planning for any construction project you take on. You can imagine the unique challenges of planning a zoo or amusement park.

Augmented reality, as mentioned earlier, is more useful in the workplace itself. Its integration into wearable technology can help employees avoid hazards and work smarter, and it can also help them perform tasks such as measuring.

Technology in construction is getting smarter. 

Another thing that technological advancements are doing in construction is making construction projects smarter. Some companies invest in smart roads or smart buildings. Building information modeling, or BIM, is essential for this movement. With BIM, you can generate digital representations of a building, and you can then use this to track physical features and functions.

The data in BIM can help you make better choices about materials and fittings. Its use goes far beyond the original construction of a building. When construction is complete, BIM data can provide information on maintenance schedules. This can keep projects within budget, both during construction and afterward.

Organizing the office

We’ve already discussed how predictive analytics can help create better work schedules. There are other ways technology can help in the construction office. Whether checking your compliance with OSHA rules or organizing paperwork, technology makes it easier.

Get ready for success! 

Technology in construction is revolutionizing almost every aspect of the industry. If you haven’t already, it’s time to adopt some of the new technologies driving building forward. As the construction industry expands in the coming years, you need to use the latest technology, and they help you keep pace as your business benefits from the industry’s growth.

If you’re not sure which technologies to use, get in touch with the experts. Even a small change can make a big difference to your bottom line.