The green transformation as a new direction for techno-economic development

Rasmus Lema & Carlota Perez


Green is now emerging, albeit not fast enough, as a new direction shaping innovation, investment and lifestyles. Indeed, the requirements of the green transformation give rise to the emergence of entirely new technologies, and it changes the parameters of competitiveness across industry, agriculture and services. These changes have profound implications for latecomer development, both positive and negative. The identification of strategies for seizing opportunities and overcoming challenges in the green economy is a central concern for policy makers and business managers alike. We argue that the theoretical framework of techno-economic paradigms shifts is particularly useful for understanding the dynamics of large-scale transformation and its associated institutional change. To fully grasp the nature of the green transformation, it is necessary to take a step back and locate it in relation to the history of technological revolutions and their regular patterns of diffusion. In this respect, we argue that the ongoing debate about the green transformation and latecomer development must consider two key conditions. First, it must recognize that the green transformation is primarily a direction-driven phenomenon, shaped by aspirational, political, and institutional changes, rather than a technology-driven phenomenon per se. Second, it must acknowledge the potential of information and communication technology (ICT) not only to accelerate and deepen the green transition itself but also to foster latecomer development within it.

JEL Classification: O33, O38, Q55, O44

Keywords: Green transformation; digital technologies; directionality; technological revolutions, techno-economic paradigms, latecomer development; government policy

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