Rarely a day went by in the dizzy 1990s without some will-paid pundit heralding the triumphant arrival of a New Ecomy. According to these financial mavens, an unprecedented techlogical and organisational revolution had extinguished the threat of recession forever. Though much of the rhetoric sounds ridiculous today, few analysts have explored how the New Ecomy moment emerged from deep within America's ecomic and ideological machinery - instead, they've preferred to treat it as an episode of mass delusion. Now, with customary irreverence and acuity, journalist Doug Henwood dissects the New Ecomy, arguing that the delirious optimism was actually a manic set of variations on ancient themes, all promoted from the highest of places. Claims of New Eras have plenty of historical precedents; in this latest act, our modern mythmakers held that techlogy would overturn hierarchies, democratising information and finance and leading inexorably to a virtual social revolution. But, as Henwood vividly demonstrates, the gap between rich and poor has never been so wide, wealth never so concentrated. After the New Ecomy offers an accessible and entertaining account of the lessthan-lustrous reality beneath the gloss of the 1990s boom.
Doug Henwood is the editor of Left Business Observer, a host of SBAI's Behind the News program, and a contributing editor of The Nation. He belongs to the Union for Radical Political Economics, the International Association for Feminist Economics, and the Nation Writers Union. He is the author of the widely acclaimed Wall Street: How it Works and for Whom (1997) and The State of the USA Atlas (1994).