Political Economy of Innovation and Sustainable Development: Evolutionary and Kaleckian Themes

Jerry Courvisanos, Centre for Regional Innovation and Competitiveness (CRIC), University of Ballarat, Australia

This talk focuses on some major themes that are being worked out in a book for Edward Elgar Publishing that is being written while visiting at UNU-MERIT. Feedback from this seminar would be extremely helpful to progress this project towards completion. Central to this talk are Joseph Schumpeter and Michał Kalecki. Both identify cycles, crises and innovation as the three dynamic forces plotting the path of economic development; Schumpeter with his agency-based Austrian economics roots, and Kalecki with his class-based Marxian economics roots. The starting point for both is to view innovation as being the implementation of new ideas that address specific problems and/or identifiable opportunities that occur on the basis of the economic boom and bust of cycles. Schumpeter’s contribution relates to the supply-side evolutionary processes of innovation that work through over a long historical period. Kalecki’s contribution relates to the demand-side ‘adaptation mechanism’ through investment in innovation which works through over historically situated business cycles. From a political economy perspective, it is the course of cycles and crises through investment which enshrines innovation in profit and power. The talk will apply this analysis to the political economy problem of generating an eco-innovation paradigm shift away from ecologically unsustainable technologies under current economic and political conditions in capitalist economies. An alternative framework for economic development policies towards eco-sustainable innovation will be suggested.

About the speaker
Jerry Courvisanos is currently visiting fellow at UNU-MERIT. Jerry’s basic research is centred on processes of innovation and their impact on investment, business cycles, sustainable development and evolution of businesses. This work informs applied research into innovation and entrepreneurial activity for regional development. Jerry has taught economics for 30 years, while advising local councils, regional development boards and social service organizations on effective approaches to identifying economic strengths and establishing new activities. Jerry has published a book: Investment Cycles in Capitalist Economies based on his PhD thesis. He is currently writing his second book on Cycles, Crises and Innovation: Evolutionary and Kaleckian Themes. He has published many articles in peer-reviewed journals and books of readings.

Venue: UNU-MERIT Conference Room

Date: 17 February 2011

Time: 12:30 - 13:30