Brian Williamson spoke in Brussels on the internet opportunity

Brian Williamson presented the findings of a Plum study “The internet – the new helping the old” for CCIA and EDiMA in Brussels.  The study looked at how the internet is contributing to and complementing economic activity in Europe.

The internet is the most recent and most potent wave of General Purpose Technologies which have contributed to growth since the industrial revolution.  As the then Chair of the Federal Reserve Alan Greenspan put it in March 2000:

“…until the mid-1990s, the billions of dollars that businesses had poured into information technology seemed to leave little imprint on the overall economy….The full value of computing power could be realised only after ways had been devised to link computers into large-scale networks…”

The following shows how steam, electricity and information and communications technology (and in particular the internet from the mid-1990s) have contributed to productivity and income growth.

Technology contribution to labour productivity

The internet has not just created something new. It has been used in manufacturing, logistics, health care and other areas of the economy and society to enhance and strengthen existing processes and services. The new is helping the old. But to ensure the internet makes the greatest possible contribution, a spirit of openness to innovation is required, as well as a willingness to change the rules of the game to allow new business models to develop.

The study is available here. The presentation slides from the event can be accessed below: