Doug Henwood on Sun, 24 Dec 2006 22:14:02 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> from new economy to YOU ECONOMY?

On Dec 23, 2006, at 5:07 AM, Craig Bellamy wrote:

> I think that it is wrong to link the late 90s stock boom to  contemporary
> developments. That was then, this is now (and the link isn't as  obvious as
> you may think it is). There are some fantastic developments coming out of the
> social media field and they all can't be critiqued by historical
> turn-of-the-century reference points. Remember, there  were a whole lot of
> other things going on then which were unique to the time, and unique to US
> and Europe.

One of the characteristic features of the 90s boom was the rejection  
of history: everything was so wildly new and unprecedented that all  
the old models didn't matter anymore. That was true of just about  
everything - consciousness, technology, politics, culture, stock  
valuations. The bust proved that the old verities still held some  
sway. We're seeing something similar now - in this post, but also in  
the enthusiasm for social networking and all the other Web 2.0  
gizmos, and the willingness of capitalists to pay up serious bucks  
for businesses that don't have much prospect for turning a profit.  
The stock market pundit Robert Prechter says that in the first  
recovery period after a bear market, you see repetitions of some of  
the same themes that characterized the peak of the previous boom.  
(Then it was IPOs and venture capital providing the cash, now it's  
Rupert Murdoch and private equity.) There's certainly lots of that  
around, though with a lot fewer lucrative jobs for hipsters and geeks.

Doug Henwood
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