After the New Economy

The Binge . . . And the Hangover That Won’t Go Away

Journalist Doug Henwood’s withering postmortem of the new economy

“Fast, funny, and consistently merciless toward the purveyors of economic delusion and deception. I feel ten times smarter than I was before I read this book!” —Barbara Ehrenreich

Rarely a day went by in the dizzy 1990s without some well-paid pundit heralding the triumphant arrival of a “New Economy.” According to these financial mavens, an unprecedented technological and organizational revolution had extinguished the threat of recession forever. Though much of the rhetoric sounds ridiculous today, few analysts have explored how the New Economy moment emerged from deep within America’s economic 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 Economy, 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 technology would overturn hierarchies, democratizing 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 Economy offers an accessible and entertaining account of the less-than-lustrous reality beneath the gloss of the 1990s boom.

Praise

“What’s appealing about economist-provocateur Doug Henwood’s After the New Economy is its combination of starchy financial analysis and hip, punk rock snarkiness. . . . After reading this brilliant book, it’s hard to resist his playful but serious enthusiasm.”
San Francisco Bay Guardian
“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 Reviews
“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