Just like the world’s economy, the U.S. economy has experienced a rocky road over the past decade – millions of people have lost their jobs and the value of the U.S. dollar has gone down. However, one thing that will help with the economic recovery is an investment in technology. Take a look at these five ways that technology helps improve the U.S. and world economy.
Technology Fuels Jobs
Image via Flickr by Voka – Kamer vsn Koophandel Limburg
Pretty much all jobs today use technology in some form or another, whether through a computer, cell phone, an automated system, or something else. So, it only makes sense that technology is a major factor that fuels jobs around the world. With technology, businesses are more efficient, cost-effective, and safe. So, the key to economic growth is a continued emphasis on improving technology for businesses.
One reason that President Obama won the U.S. presidential election in 2012 was because of his support for research and development in science and technology. Mr. Romney and Mr. Ryan proposed spending cuts in these areas. President Obama wants to continue to make strides in cleaner energy, which will bring jobs and help the U.S. thrive economically.
He wants to do this by investing in three science agencies – the Department of Energy?s Office of Science, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. President Obama has taken a look at the numbers and found that investing in technology will build jobs and help the economy grow and be stable.
Of course, President Obama isn’t the only one that acknowledges how important technology is to the economy. Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Texas Instruments, Richard "Rich" K. Templeton, said, "Research conducted at universities and national labs underpins the new innovations that drive economic growth." The U.S. has historically been a leader in technological development around the world and this is what is going to keep the economy at the top.
The Internet Supports Mobile Businesses
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The most influential piece of technology that has fueled the economy is the Internet. The U.N. telecom agency said that one in three people in the world were internet users by the end of 2011. However, 70 percent of those people live in industrialized countries. This shows that technology is one thing that makes a country industrialized in the first place.
So, why does the Internet help the economy? It?s because businesses are able to reach a larger, global audience which means they have to support more jobs. The more jobs there are, the better the economy. Plus, the Internet is what enables lots of other technology to happen, such as WiFi, cell phones, cloud computing, etc.
Advancements in Health Technology
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Health care has also improved because of technology and this inadvertently affects the economy. When people are healthier, they are better able to perform their jobs. Plus, technology has made it possible for people with disabilities to perform jobs they wouldn?t have been able to in the past.
According to the nonpartisan group United for Medical Research, the federal government spent $26.6 billion on N.I.H. research in 2012. That investment supported $69 billion in economic growth and sustained 485,000 jobs. That?s a pretty big impact on the economy from health care spending alone.
Impact of Mobile Phones on the U.S. Economy
Did You Know video – updated with 2012 data
Cell phones help the economy grow for several reasons. It?s not just because cell phone service providers have to employ thousands of people to keep cell service running, it?s also because of the increased efficiency in communication. This has obvious benefits for businesses large and small.
The U.N. telecom agency says that for every 100 people in the
world, 86 have a cell phone subscription. That?s more than 6 billion people globally. China leads the world on the charts with India as a close second. Other industrialized areas, such as the U.S. and Great Britain, are also near the top. It?s no coincidence that the biggest cell phone users come from industrialized countries – it?s because technology helped them become so economically sound.
The biggest economic growth in cell phones happened after 2G phones were replaced by 3G phones. This gave all T-Mobile phones, and others, faster access to the Internet, allowing them to find and connect with businesses faster and easier. The economy also grew after the release of 4G LTE cell phones, but it wasn?t as big as when 3G phones were released. This is only due to the fact that 4G LTE is currently not as widespread as the original 3G adoption.
The vice president of global technology policy at Cisco, Dr. Robert Pepper said, "The fact that increasing high-speed mobile broadband data usage leads to greater average per capita income underscores the need for increased investment in wireless networks as well as for government policies to foster that investment, including the allocation of additional spectrum."
Technology in the Automotive Industry
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During the economic recession, several car companies received "bailouts" from the government to help them rebuild. This was a controversial topic because many people thought that car companies shouldn?t get special privileges over other types of businesses. However, one of the main reasons why the bailouts were allowed in the first place was because American car companies needed to be able to compete with foreign cars for the U.S. economy to recover.
Since the bailouts, the automotive industry has also grown greatly because of technology. Not only are there now cars that can park themselves, there are many more energy-efficient options to choose from. There are also more jobs in the automotive industry as a result. All of this supports economic growth.
The industries mentioned here aren?t the only ones that have grown because of technology. Pretty much every business benefits from some form of technology advancements. That?s why it?s really important for the government to invest money in research and development. It is what keeps the economy thriving and working better. What do you think the greatest piece of technology is for economic growth?