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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 8: The Emergence of an Anthropogenetic Model

Robert Boyer


INTRODUCTION The approach adopted in previous chapters has hopefully been useful, but it does not absolve analysts from having to come up with ideas about the future – suggestions that could change corporate organizational models and, in the long run, the growth regime too. The general calling into question of the impact of ICT has resulted in a resurgence of propositions and scenarios about the future. These various ideas reassess the role played by information technology and see it as one element within a structured analysis of the foundations of growth. The present chapter offers a double extension of these analyses. Firstly, it examines the latest ideas for transcending an ICT-driven growth regime. Is ICT the precursor to emergent real-time economics? Should we be viewing it as the latest manifestation of a general model, that is to say a network economy? Will lower information costs trigger the emergence of an increasingly knowledge-based economy? Secondly, and above all, the analysis offered here provides a historical perspective that will help us identify a regime that remains relatively unnoticed, even though it is likely to have a major impact in the twenty-first century. ICT AS THE VECTOR OF REAL-TIME MANAGEMENT? After the virtual economy, cybermarkets and the dematerialized Internet economy, a new general hypothesis has arisen in literature. Here the diffusion of the computer and the densification of the Web are seen as nothing more than landmarks on the way to the emergence of a new type of firm, one whose essential characteristic is...

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