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Word Count: 992
I dont know about you but Im a bit uncomfortable with the idea that the very engines of our economy are now virtual companies run by twelve year olds that produce nothing employ almost no one and have nothing in the way of assets except a name that begins with e- or ends with com Anyone who reads the papers these days can be forgiven for thinking that that is the case According to legions of cheerleaders disguised as e-journalists some time after the recession of the early 1990s pushed unemployment as high as twelve percent but before Y2K left us cowering in our survival shelters someone sneaked in and replaced our old economy with a shiny new one Apparently in this new economy we all work with our brains not our hands matter doesnt matter anymore tangible assets are merely a burden and the industrial age has been replaced by the information age In some parts of the world you cant swing your arms without hitting a web designer and everyone but me works in an office with a cappuccino bar In short we have entered trumpet fanfare a new paradigm While not everyone shares in the triumphalism found on the business pages these assumptions about the new economy are quite widely accepted Some of the people protesting the WTO on the streets of Seattle last November believe the new platitudes every bit as much as the right-wing think tanks who opportunistically argue that the growth of the internet signals the impossibility of regulating commerce At the risk of sounding antediluvian I wonder about the obvious questions that arent being asked publicly How new is this economy anyway Where did the idea of it come from How is it any different And whos coming out ahead Even a quick look at the economic evidence shows that there is a lot of commotion over little real
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