0s and 1s, 25 years after

It’s both eerie and disconcerting to see something you wrote almost a quarter century ago, reprinted, “to check what you got right and what you got wrong”. Be that as it may, I’m relieved to be reminded that 25 years ago, in thinking about technological change and the transformation of economic value into 0s and 1s [and thus the digital revolution], I had managed to say “winner-take-all” increasing income inequality; to predict the importance of knowledge not just in production but more importantly in consumption; to flag the convergence in economic value between (digital) bits and (heavy metal) atoms; to suggest physical distance would become unimportant because of the Internet, so that markets would be global, not local or even national; to indicate how international trade would become more difficult to track; to point to different nations potentially catching up but yet others trapped and falling further behind, …

I completely missed things that would become important: personal privacy, online falsehoods, customised advertising, the weaponisation of digital media, cybersecurity, robotics.

All those references to cyberpunk orthodoxy though…

Quah, Danny. 2019. The Invisible Hand and the Weightless Economy

DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.11627.59681

The invisible hand and the weightless economy

The invisible hand and the weightless economy – front page

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