Are You an Economist?

manonrocketMany years ago, when The Theory of the Information Age was first adopted and the technological infrastructure was going into place to facilitate the interconnection of computers via telecommunications, an educational effort was made to try and get economists to begin thinking about the Information Age and the economic principles driving it.

The best time to study these, I suggested at the time, was when the Information Age was in its true infancy, and the fundamental principles could easily be seen, since they would be operating in a crude, very basic fashion, out in the open.  I knew that over time, as sophistication grew, these operating principles would disappear from sight and work in a seamless, invisible fashion.

I thought economists might find this opportunity fascinating, particularly since many economists knew that the first true economic application of Information Age technology consisted of private digital Transatlantic telecommunications lines created for use by the financial community to connect the London and New York financial markets, and thereby bringing an economic benefit by extending the "business day" of financial dealings.

But attention to the new economic principles of the Information Age did not happen.  To this day, in fact, it appears that economists still do not see anything that is happening relative to the Information Age as new economic phenomena – even while we are inundated by commercials promoting the latest innovations in high technology – nor do they view events as being anything occurring outside known Industrial Age economic thinking. 

This seems very odd when even average people are able to notice that new types of businesses are appearing that are having enormous economic impacts, such as Facebook, Amazon.com, eBay, and others. Yet, the current economic evaluations and interpretations that appear remain remarkably consistent with Industrial Age concepts, and these new enterprises are viewed as merely an extension of the Industrial Age. How exactly can that be?

Are there any economists thinking about the economic consequences of the Information Age? 

For instance, what does it mean that print media are in a fight for their life?  What does it mean that an enterprise like Facebook has 1,000,000,000 members?  How will the economy change when the Information Age infrastructure is completed and the novel business concepts known as “dot.coms” are able to come into their own? 

What remains puzzling is that the economists should have been and should be at the forefront of the coming of the Information Age.  Yet, at least judging by what is published, most still do not see this phenomenon as something new or as a sign of an evolving economy or conceive of the Information Age as a new age, apparently believing – like so many others – that the "Information Age” is no more than a marketing slogan or a mere extension of the Industrial and Post-Industrial Age.

Ironically, at the same time, most economists believe that Post-Industrial times are drawing to an end. But what and when and how will this era be replaced? Economists simply do not say.

THIS IS THEREFORE THE CHALLENGE: Who will be the economist(s) to strive to understand the new principles that were set in motion by The Theory of the Information Age and to aid humanity by building a body of knowledge that can be leveraged to maximize the value of the economic tools of the Information Age?

keytofutureWill it be you?

Related Links