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After the New Economy: The Binge . . . And the Hangover That Wont Go Away Paperback – July 6, 2005
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From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"Takes a skeptical look at the concept of ‘globalization,’while also challenging some of the dogmas of the so-called anti-globalization movement. An indispensable book." —Newsday
"In most eyes, the New Economy deserves a good tattooing, and Left Business Observer editor Henwood slowly and excruciatingly applies the needle . . . painful enough to keep any new new economy in hiding for decades." —Kirkus Review
Top Customer Reviews
Those of us who read his Left Business Observer newsletter waited impatiently for over five years.
It was worth the wait. Henwood starts off just where you'd expect --- poking fun at the Internet revolutionaries, the intellectual
frauds who claimed the US economy had reached a new age.
Then he gets into the numbers. Oh man, does he have numbers. Chapters two and three are all about productivity, income, and
wealth. He gives you a few statistics, he explains what they mean, and then he tells you that the numbers can't be trusted. (He has a habit of saying, "What does this all mean? Honestly, no one knows. But I'll make an educated guess.") This kind of
humility is rare among economists. He forces you to form your own opinion about the accuracy of the numbers and their
Despite the constant caveats, a clear picture emerges. The US economy is deeply integrated into the world economy, with Third
World patterns of wealth and worker control developing right here in the First World. Although the US is still more comfortable
than, say, Colombia, it's falling behind countries like Belgium and France. Divisions of wealth, a pathetic social safety net, and weak unions keep an overworked, low-paid, insecure workforce in their place.
Then he turns to globalization. This chapter has a few problems. Henwood likes cosmopolitanism --- the social form of
globalization. And he says the international economy has been around for over a century, so we shouldn't treat it like something new.Read more ›
He divides his analysis into 5 general themes:
"novelty" (economics should be viewed historically so as to identify both the old and the new, both patterns and changes);
"work" (productivity gains do not clearly show up in increased wages or increased profits and have not led to better jobs for most workers);
"income" (income and wealth disparities continue to exist and inequality continues along racial, gender and national divisions; and workers are not as upwardly mobile as we would like to believe);
"globalization" (a concept about as fuzzy as the "New Economy," whether used by its advocates or its enemies, that often obscures thoughtful consideration of the long-standing and long-increasing international reach of the economy); and
"finance" (the increase in the number of financial assets and especially the increaed speed at which they trade in the financial markets may have less to do with smart investment in productive activities than in benefitting financial managers and top executives and in increasing profits of already-financed companies).
Henwood suggests that the bursting of the New Economy bubble is likely to have long-term effects that will lead to continued polarization of income/wealth, insecurity, etc.Read more ›
Too good to be true--but it is.
And Henwood underlines how, from the very beginning, the New Economy rested on a flight from the physical world. He quotes Reagan: "In the new eocnomy human invention increasingly makes natural resources obsolete."
While the Bush admnistration's environmental policy could be read as an attempt to fulfill Reagan's dream, world markets are now telling us that natural resources are far from out of vogue. Copper, gold, silver, oil, wheat--today, this is where wealth resides. Demand for these resources is rising in parts of the world where higher productivity actually means higher standards of living for a significant number of people.
By contrast, Henwood shows how, in the West,the productivity revolution of the Nineties produced more, always more, of things that, in many cases, we don't need and couldn't afford.The miracle? They were doing it with fewer people. Jobs vanish (though Henwood shows, low-wage jobs are growing at nice clip), debt mounts, the dollar declines.
And, he notes, in some cases what we produce may even lower the standard of living: "The contribution of the brokerage industry to productivity was mainly web-based trading; how much it contributes to human welfare is debatable. The more people trade, the worse they do (though it makes their brokers happier.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
In his 2003 book "After the New Economy" long time economic commentator, author of Wall Street: How it Works and for Whom and editor of the "Left Business Observer" Doug Henwood... Read morePublished on March 12, 2012 by S Wood
This is the excellent kind of economic and business journalism that we expect from Doug Henwood. See his LEFT BUSINESS OBSERVER. Read morePublished on July 26, 2005 by J. Devine
What are we supposed to think of a self-appointed 'leftist' economics journalist who left the entire Enron story to the mainstream press? Read morePublished on July 28, 2004 by C. Jannuzi
For years, Doug Henwood's newsletter -- "Left Business Observer" -- has served as a corrective to the triumphalist nonsense that passes for business journalism in the U.S. Read morePublished on January 24, 2004 by Panopticonman