Economic Change

Economic Change

Economic Change Jonathan Poland

Economic change refers to shifts in economic conditions, such as changes in GDP, employment rates, and prices. These shifts can be driven by a variety of factors, including technological innovation, government policy, and external events such as natural disasters or pandemics.

Economic change can have both positive and negative impacts on individuals, businesses, and societies. For example, economic growth, as measured by an increase in GDP, is generally seen as a positive development, as it can lead to increased job opportunities, higher incomes, and improved living standards. However, economic growth can also lead to rising prices, which can erode the purchasing power of individuals and create economic inequality.

On the other hand, economic recession, or a period of declining economic activity, can have negative impacts on individuals and businesses, including job losses and reduced income. However, economic recessions can also lead to structural changes in the economy, such as the closure of inefficient firms and the creation of new, more competitive businesses.

Overall, economic change is a constant feature of modern economies, and it can have significant impacts on individuals, businesses, and societies. To manage and mitigate the negative effects of economic change, governments and businesses may implement policies such as fiscal and monetary stimulus, unemployment insurance, and social safety nets. The following are illustrative examples of economic change.

Economic Systems

Changes in an economic system such as a shift from a centrally planned economy to a free market system.


Political shifts such as the formation of the European Union that created the world’s largest single market system in 1999.

Economic Policy

Changes in economic policy such as the end of the gold standard and introduction of a system of pure fiat money initiated by the United States in 1971.

Social Change

Social change such as the entry of more women into the workforce. This is a long term trend that accelerated after WWII in many countries.


Changes to the demographics of a nation such as an aging population.


Legal changes in areas such as business regulations and property rights. For example, environmental laws could create new industries and destroy old ones if they can not adapt.

Technological Change

Technology can lead to changes in productivity, efficiency and employment demand. For example, the use of digital computers by businesses beginning in the 1960s led to some productivity improvements and many new industries. Historically, it is common for predictions of technology driven economic change to be overly dramatic.


The development of the soft and hard infrastructure of a nation. For example, a country that builds institutions, transportation systems, technology infrastructure and resilient cities that make its economy more efficient.


Structural changes to markets or the introduction of new markets. For example, ecommerce is a relatively new market for goods and services.


Shifts in supply such as a shortage caused by a war. Supply can also suddenly increase due to technological advancement.


Demand shifts such as changing consumer needs and preferences. For example, refrigerators cause a shift in food consumption patterns when they are adopted by consumers in a developing country.


Shifts in trade such as the long term trend towards more international trade known as globalization. On the flip side, a trade war can cause a sudden reduction in trade.


A disaster or war can result in sudden change such as a severe shortage of raw materials, parts and goods.

Economic Problems

Economic problems such as a depression or hyper inflation can permanently change the structure of an economy.

Business Models

A business model is a way of capturing value. The global economy is mostly based on a handful of business models. As such, new business models or shifts in business models can have a significant impact. For example, many advanced economies are experiencing a shift towards service industries as a greater percentage of economic output.

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