THE NEW ECONOMY….One of the downsides of being an enthusiastic participant in the high tech world for the past 20 years is that I have heard just about all the blather about the New Economy that I ever want to hear. It’s not that computers and the internet and all that aren’t genuinely revolutionary, it’s just that….well….it’s just that the blather during the late 90s became simply too much to bear. Those of you who were there know what I’m talking about; the rest of you should count your blessings that you don’t.
Anyway, apparently Doug Henwood has written a rather good book, After the New Economy, skewering the worst of the high tech blather, and Kieran Healy has a nice review here. The rest of the Timberites have promised to chime in with their own thoughts, but Brad DeLong got impatient waiting around for them and added a review of his own here. More to come at Crooked Timber later this week, I presume.
As for me, I haven’t read the book. But it sounds like I ought to.
POSTSCRIPT: I’m not going to try and make the whole case here, but I’ll add my ? not my two cents, perhaps, it’s not worth that much ? I’ll add my one cent to a particular facet of the debate. I do believe that advances in computer technology are revolutionary and are likely to become even more revolutionary over the next few decades as increased computing power finally makes artificial intelligence genuinely feasible. Unfortunately, I also think that one of the results of this will be to increasingly marginalize unskilled and semiskilled workers in a way that has never happened before: they will be permanently marginalized. There will be no new industries for them to move to.
This will happen over the next 50 years or so, and while the endpoint may be well worth it, the transition is going to be brutal. Buckle up.