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The Future of Economic Growth

As New Becomes Old

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’.
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Chapter 2: Microeconomic Instability and an Uncertain Organizational Model

Robert Boyer


INTRODUCTION The issues in this respect basically revolve around the role that information plays in the following areas: corporate management; consumer behaviour; educational methods and curriculum; and the management of public services. All of these are factors capable of affecting economic performance (Brousseau and Rallet, 1999). It would be wrong to say that the importance of information was only discovered in 1995. With the historical rise of commercial, and subsequently of industrial and, even more importantly, financial capitalism, information became a key component in the organization of trading and production, and in the functioning of credit and securities markets. For a long time now, commodities have typically been produced using other kinds of commodities, labour and information. The best way to defend the market economy is not by invoking the two fundamental theorems of well-being economics (Ingrao and Israel, 1990), but by extolling the virtues of marketbased trading. In other words, by the fact that it socializes information even in the absence of any organization responsible for centralizing such information (Hayek, 1945). DIGITALIZED INFORMATION AND REDUNDANT NETWORKS Two technological novelties have arisen in recent years. The first relates to the digitalization of information which made it possible to codify a vast set of data and knowledge economically. In turn, this made it possible to build up synergies between areas that were once disconnected: for example, the press, publishing, television, economic and technical information, music, images and, more generally, artistic creation. Clearly, ICT constitutes a generic technique whose applications first diffuse...

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