After the new economy
October 1, 2003
The Binge and the Hangover That Won't Go Away
Rarely a day went by in the dizzy 1990s without some well-paid pundit heralding the triumphant arrival of a New Economy. According to these financial mavens, an unprecedented technological and organizational revolution was ushering in an era of rapid productivity growth and had extinguished the threat of recession forever. Mass participation in the stock market would transform workers into owners, ideas would become the motors of economic life, and globalization would render national borders obsolete. Though much of the rhetoric sounds ridiculous today, few analysts have explored how the New Economy moment emerged from deep within America's economic and ideological machinery. Instead, they've preferred to treat it as an episode of mass delusion, stoked by stock touts and creative accountants. Now, with customary irreverence and acuity, journalist Doug Henwood dissects the New Economy, arguing that the delirious optimism of the moment was actually a manic set of variations on ancient themes-techno-utopianism, the frictionless market, the postindustrial society, and the end of the business cycle-all promoted from the highest of places. Claims of New Eras have plenty of historical precedents; in this latest act, our modern mythmakers held that technology would overturn hierarchies, democratizing information and finance and leading inexorably to a virtual social revolution. But, as Henwood vividly demonstrates, the gap between rich and poor has never been so wide, wealth never so concentrated. For all of capitalism's purported dynamism, the global economic hierarchy has remained remarkably stable for more than a century, and few regions of the world enjoy bright economic prospects. For a while, it looked like the U.S. was a fortunate exception, but it too has been stumbling since the bubble burst. After the New Economy offers an accessible and entertaining account of the less-than-lustrous reality beneath the gloss of the 1990s boom, stripping bare the extra
Authors: Doug Henwood
Formats: pdf/epub/mobi
Number of pages: n/a