Sunday, April 13, 2008

The "Financialization" of the American Economy

HTWW on Kevin Phillip's new book:

Phillips has warned for years about the inevitably malign consequences of what he calls the "financialization" of the American economy. Sometime in the mid-'90s, he writes, financial services overtook manufacturing as the biggest chunk of the U.S. gross domestic product. If you believe, as Phillips does, that all the furious activity on Wall Street masterminded by the likes of Citigroup and Goldman-Sachs and Merrill Lynch is just a bunch of speculation and froth that doesn't actually result in the creation of anything real, then there has never been a better time for triumphantly pointing out the disasters that ensue when the rest of the world also realizes that Wall Street is wearing no clothes.

This is the element I've not understood about the "Whole New World is Flat" futurism. It implies that finance will become less important in the future, which in turn implies a massive and painful realignment (or "crash") in our economy, but that isn't really explicitly stated. The creative class and research and development is only your best bet if bankers and stock brokers start making a lot less money, which I'd be happy to see, but that's really your lede: "Finance Collapses" not "Great Storytellers Will Always Have a Job."

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