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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 9: Conclusion

Robert Boyer


THE FUTURE LASTS FOR A LONG TIME It would be useful to summarize the various conclusions that can be drawn from this analysis of the ‘new economy’ phenomenon. The search for a precise definition has enabled us to improve our understanding of the shifting object that once comprised the ‘new economy’. By highlighting the microeconomic imbalances inherent in the increasing returns that typify informational goods, we have been able to elucidate the reasons for the major uncertainties that affected the organizational model of start-ups. A review of the literature on the macroeconomic impact of ICT diffusion has put into context the contribution made by the ‘new economy’ to the recovery in productivity gains. US expansion during the 1990s was not simply a result of the diffusion of a new productive paradigm. A study of the geography of the emerging ICT-based growth regimes thus requires going beyond Silicon Valley for insights. Similarly, historical analysis of technological paradigms does not confirm the postulate that the PC and the Web constitute radical novelties. Moreover, the very fact that there has been a turnaround in the US economy means that we have to reassess the claims made about the potential of the ‘new economy’. BEHIND THE SUCCESS OF THE ‘NEW ECONOMY’: A CRISIS ALREADY IN THE MAKING History teaches us that every time someone within the world of finance, the media or academia uses the word ‘new’ to describe a phenomenon that is supposedly unprecedented and which threatens to overturn long-held analyses and regularities,...

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