The Future of Economic Growth

The Future of Economic Growth

As New Becomes Old

The Cournot Centre series

Robert Boyer

In this book, Robert Boyer follows the origins, course and collapse of the ‘new economy’ and proposes a new interpretation of US dynamism during the 1990s. He argues that the diffusion of information and communication technologies is only part of a story that also requires understanding of the transformation of the financial system, the reorganization of the management of firms and the emergence of a new policy mix. The book includes a long-term retrospective analysis of technological innovation, and an international comparison of OECD countries delivers an unconventional and critical assessment of the hope and the hype of the ‘new economy’.

Preface to the English edition

Robert Boyer

Subjects: economics and finance, industrial organisation

Extract

This is a translation of a book that was originally published in France in 2002. It examines the driving forces behind growth during the previous decade, paying particular attention to the strengths and weaknesses of the ‘new economy’. How has the ‘new economy’ become old? In retrospect, what is the future of economic growth? These are two questions that this book addresses. The Anglophone reader may well question the relevance of such a book. What can a French researcher contribute to the analysis of a phenomenon which primarily took place in the USA? Why dwell on the concept of a ‘new economy’ that many people now consider to be a thing of the past? Do not a number of events that have taken place since the publication of this book in French invalidate some of its findings? These are questions to which this Preface seeks to respond. THE ILLUSIONS OF THE ‘NEW ECONOMY’ MAY RE-EMERGE One of the aims of this book is methodological and focuses on whether economists learn from their mistakes. During the late 1980s and subsequently, many economists became convinced by the emergence of a new growth regime, one driven by information technology. The drastic increase in share prices which took place at this time was seen to herald future growth patterns and future profits in the ICT-producing sector. The numerous adverse signals to the effect that this was a typical financial bubble that would eventually burst served little purpose. Such signals included massive capital investment in...