Net­work The­ory

The Economic Times - - The Edit Page -

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”

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