Economic myths are misleading economic metaphors. Usually, an economic myth is based on a misreading of a short story or aphorism, and it points away from the key lessons of an event. Many economic myths purport to explain how the internet developed in the US, and some of them will be familiar to most readers merely from reading the news. Many economic myths about the internet have not been confronted by scrutiny. This book must confront many of those myths and correct them.
Perhaps the most pernicious of the myths is internet exceptionalism. This is the belief that the internet followed its own unique economic rules, and little in common with other important historical episodes. The belief, common in the US during the late 1990s, was enthusiastically voiced by the dotcom boom participants.
Internet exceptionalism can be an ideology that overly stresses the role of the unique features of internet technology in business events. It misattributes most novel economic gains to technical causes, and was espoused by those entrepreneurs familiar with the internet’s technical features.
All flavours of internet exceptionalism relegate economic analysis of commercial behaviour and incentives to secondary status and de-emphasise or overlook the commercial markets’ influence in fostering/ discouraging innovation.
From “How the Internet Became Commercial: Innovation, Privatisation, and the Birth of a New Network”