“Technological Level”: Towards Operational Certainty of the Concept

Shorkin Aleksey D.
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The concept of “a level of technology” is recognized as the most important factor in the development of world-systems. Its widespread use contrasts paradoxically with the lack of generally accepted operational certainty. The purpose of the article is to construct an algorithm for the empirical quantification of technological levels.
Numerous attempts to create a system of technology level indicators have not led to easy-to-use results. Researchers of world dynamics prefer to consider the complex multiplicity of indicators using its individual evaluation markers. The level of technology is primarily produced by inventive activity. Its definition by considering the accumulation of the number of inventions has developed in the traditions of the Russian scientific community. This article develops this tradition. For the purposes of rigorous empirical quantification of the level, evaluation procedures were eliminated, and WIPO statistical data were used.
The accumulation of inventions and the growth of World per capita GDP show a high correlation. They are proportionally related by the coefficient of financial and economic productivity (h), the numerical value of which is $185±10 (according to PPP, 1990). A million inventions constitute a unit of technology level. By 1883, the technological level reached 5.25±0.28. Under normal economic development g = 1851±ω ∙ T, where ω ≤ 0.01. In pre-crisis times, ω drops to –0.05.
Two approbations of the author’s model are presented. In the first one, the correlation of the growth of the level of technology with the dynamics of the population is established, an approximation of the logistics of filling the demographic capacity of the modern technological platform is constructed. The second approbation establishes the correspondence of the value of the coefficient h, equal to the minimum World per capita GDP, with the diet of the archanthropus.
Hopefully, a simple operational interpretation of the technological level with help of the accumulated inventions (license counting) that is taken as an independent variable will expand the possibilities of building models of world dynamics.
Key words: level of technology, license for an invention, demographic capacity of a technological platform, diet of an archanthropus.