December 9, 2005
Excerpts: The Battle For The Soul of Capitalism- Part VI
The Long BoomAs the culmination of this change in the nature of capitalism drew near, the critical factors that affect the markets also were changing. Only recently, as 1999 was about to roll into 2000, the Y2K issue—an acronym now almost lost in the dustbin of history—was the major challenge of the day. Our nation’s systems experts prevailed, and our computers clicked into the year 2000, and then, a year later, into the twenty-first century. A new century, billed as a new era of growth for our global economy, had begun. The spirit of the coming age was summarized in a 1997 article entitled, of all things, “The Long Boom.” Wired magazine, the hottest publication geared to the “new economy” fantasy, headlined its lead story: “We’re Facing Twenty-Five Years of Prosperity, Freedom, and a Better Environment for the Whole World. You Got a Problem with That?” Who could possibly have a problem with that? Indeed, the readers of Wired must have salivated as they anticipated, in the article’s words, “the beginnings of a global boom on a scale never experienced before...a pe- riod of sustained growth that could eventually double the world’s economy every dozen years and bring increasing prosperity for billions of people on the planet...growth that will do much to solve seemingly intractable problems like poverty, and ease tensions throughout the world, all without blowing the lid off the environment.”
That wildly bullish thesis was based on the indisputable triumph of the United States as sole superpower, the end of major wars, waves of new technology, soaring productivity, an expanding global marketplace, and corporate restructuring—“a virtuous circle...driven by an open society in an integrated world.” In all, a “radically optimistic meme."
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