tug
Volume 4, Number 10 -- March 22, 2007

Study Attempts to Quantify IT's Effects on the Economy

Published: March 22, 2007

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

Back in the days of data processing, just replacing people with computers seemed to be enough of a good reason for business managers to spend relatively large sums of money on mainframes and minicomputers. But as the use of computing ballooned in the following decades, weaving itself into the very fabric of the economy and our lives, we ironically seem to not know exactly how much all of this information technology--which is more about linking people and companies than it is about doing bookkeeping in the back office--is helping or hurting the mature economies of the world.

According to a report released last week by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, getting a precise answer to that question is a bit difficult, but the researchers at this year-old foundation took a stab at it. The report was written by Robert Atkinson, who among other things was project director of the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment, and Andrew McKay, an economics student at Swarthmore College.

The basic premise of the 78-page report, called Digital Prosperity, is that the "integration of IT into virtually all aspects of the economy and society is creating a digitally enabled economy that is responsible for the lion's share of growth and prosperity." That's a pretty bold statement, and one that you would not get a single IT vendor and very few IT managers to argue a counterpoint to. (You can read the full report online at this link.)

I am in the IT business myself, and I like computers. I spend time building computers when I don't have to because I like to see how they work. The computer business has been pretty good to me. But I think it is more fair to say that IT has enabled us to do many thing faster than we did before--in my case, get news out to readers--but the pace of the world enabled by IT also makes intense demands on our productivity. We are not just magically more productive and that is great for the economy. We are more productive because of IT, and then the world--as filtered through our employers--expects more from us. In plain English, I write a heck of a lot more each day that I used to 15 years ago, and that is not because I am more experienced. It is because a modern, IT-connected world demands I do more for less each year, and I have to do more to break even. I ain't complaining, let's be clear on that. I love what I do, and if I didn't, I would stop right in the middle of this sentence. But I just want to say that I get a bit annoyed when academics, politicians, analysts, and IT vendors all hail the benefits of "getting connected." Getting connected means other people get unplugged--how many jobs has IT destroyed in 30 years?--and that many people get left behind in the prosperity.

It also means that we end up doing many of the things, with the assistance of computers, that used to be done by people. We used ATMs and kiosks, we type our own letters, we use email forms to send protests to our Senators. There is no question that online ordering, automated manufacturing, electronic banking and stock trading, computerized supply chain webs, and other networks of systems that are the backbone of the U.S. economy have not made the economy more efficient, as the Digital Prosperity report suggests. It took the Internet to make this productivity happen properly--which is why American productivity fell to an average of 1.5 percent per year between 1974 and 1995 as IT investment grew from a tiny fraction of total capital investment in 1980 to nearly 10 percent by 1990 and 22 percent by 2000.It wasn't until the period of 1996 through 2006 when American worker productivity rebounded to an average of 3 percent--the level that the country saw from the golden years between the end of World War II and the beginning of peak oil in the States, the Middle East wars and embargoes, and the resulting recessions.

Being able to do more things at a time is often hailed as being a huge benefit of modern IT systems, and this is the conclusion that the Digital Prosperity report ultimately comes to. While it is great that we are more productive, I often think that we are less focused, even if we do have better information at our fingertips.


RELATED RESOURCE

Digital Prosperity: Understanding the Economic Benefits of the Information Technology Revolution



                     Post this story to del.icio.us
               Post this story to Digg
    Post this story to Slashdot


Sponsored By
MKS

You're at Bat, and It's Time for a "Change Up".
Change Up to MKS Implementer and MKS Integrity
for Application Lifecycle Management - Move to MKS NOW and SAVE!

Has the recent acquisition of your change management provider thrown you a curve ball?
Is your vendor offering you loosely coupled tools, leaving you with information gaps and a technical headache? Can your current change management solution meet your needs
today - and tomorrow?

This isn't slow pitch.

The world of software development is moving at a rapid pace and you need to be ready to meet new demands. Change management is a vital component of your business -- the foundation for compliance, for modernization, for process control and risk management. You need a vendor that can keep up with these business demands.

A winning team, less risk, more advantages.

Join a team that is reliable, steadfast and dedicated to delivering tangible business results to System i5 customers as well as cross-platform teams. MKS is firmly dedicated to the change management market and has a clear product roadmap. MKS's Implementer for software change management and deployment has a reputation of technical excellence with large and small customers across every industry.

Make the change up - move to MKS NOW and SAVE!

For a limited time MKS will help you make the move with special pricing when you purchase Implementer with MKS Integrity - giving you integrated workflow, complete audit trails and
coverage of the application lifecycle as well as a platform to manage both System i5 and
cross-platform development.

Visit the Products section of the MKS website for more information on
Implementer and MKS Integrity.

Click here to request more information on our time limited "change up" offer.

Download the white paper:
"Managing iSeries Development in the Application Modernization Era."

The time is now to make the switch.

Call MKS today at 1-800-613-7535 to discuss your options, and while you're at it, request a
FREE change management process assessment by our team of experts with over 40 years of experience in the midrange market.

Contact MKS Sales at 1-800-613-7535 or sales@mks.com
For more information, visit www.mks.com/solutions


Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik,
Shannon O'Donnell, Timothy Prickett Morgan
Publisher and Advertising Director: Jenny Thomas
Advertising Sales Representative: Kim Reed
Contact the Editors: To contact anyone on the IT Jungle Team
Go to our contacts page and send us a message.

Sponsored Links

Vibrant Technologies:  Quality Used Servers, Storage & Networking Hardware at up to 80% off new
FreeBSD:  Advanced OS for X86 and X64, Alpha/AXP, IA-64, PC-98, and Sparc architectures
COMMON:  Join us at the Annual 2007 Conference & Expo, April 29 - May 3, in Anaheim, California


The Four Hundred
IBM Pays for System i5 Video Viral Marketing

System i Shops Plenty Annoyed About Missing WDSc Features

It Was Inevitable: IBM Jacks Maintenance Fees on Midrange Gear

Mad Dog 21/21: The China Spin Drone

The Linux Beacon
Red Hat Integrates and Simplifies with RHEL 5

The Feeds and Speeds of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5

Transaction Processing Council Launches TPC-E Benchmark

Mad Dog 21/21: The China Spin Drone

Four Hundred Stuff
Vision Committed to Developing ORION

Infor Advocates Open Approach to SOA

IBM to Distribute Info Builders' iSeries BI Tools

LANSA Puts RAMP to the Test

Big Iron
Flex-ES And IBM: Can They Bend? Are They Broken?

Top Mainframe Stories From Around the Web

Chats, Webinars, Seminars, Shows, and Other Happenings

Four Hundred Guru
iSeries Navigator Job Monitor

Reader Feedback on Using the SQL SET OPTION Statement

Changing ODBC Sign-On Pop Up Values

System i PTF Guide
March 17, 2007: Volume 9, Number 11

March 10, 2007: Volume 9, Number 10

March 3, 2007: Volume 9, Number 9

February 24, 2007: Volume 9, Number 8

February 17, 2007: Volume 9, Number 7

February 10, 2007: Volume 9, Number 6

The Windows Observer
IDC Chops Server Forecasts Thanks to Virtualization, Multicore Chips

Microsoft Looks to Boost Voice Strategy with TellMe Buy

Disaster Recovery in a Truck Unveiled by IBM, Cisco

Gateway Adds Entry Opteron Tower Server, Windows NAS Arrays

Four Hundred Monitor
Four Hundred Monitor's
Full iSeries Events Calendar

THIS ISSUE SPONSORED BY:

Roaring Penguin
IBM & Lakeview Technology
OpenSolaris
IOUG
MKS



TABLE OF CONTENTS
Sun Taps Linux Guru to Guide Operating System Strategy

IBM's Plan for an Adjacent, Custom Systems Market

IDC Chops Server Forecasts Thanks to Virtualization, Multicore Chips

Mad Dog 21/21: The China Spin Drone

But Wait, There's More:


Disaster Recovery in a Truck Unveiled by IBM, Cisco . . . Study Attempts to Quantify IT's Effects on the Economy . . . Transaction Processing Council Launches TPC-E Benchmark . . . Black Market for ID Theft Has Strong U.S. Ties, Symantec Finds . . . Infor Advocates Open Approach to SOA . . . Notes/Domino 8 Beta Reveals UnLotus-Like Improvements . . .

The Unix Guardian

BACK ISSUES





 
Subscription Information:
You can unsubscribe, change your email address, or sign up for any of IT Jungle's free e-newsletters through our Web site at http://www.itjungle.com/sub/subscribe.html.

Copyright © 1996-2008 Guild Companies, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Guild Companies, Inc., 50 Park Terrace East, Suite 8F, New York, NY 10034

Privacy Statement