In William Gibson
work of Neuromancer
, a future is presented where, whether it be in The BAMA Sprawl
or future Japan
, mega-corporations hold power rivaling that of small nations. However, one might ask if such
corporations can ever grow to exist given human nature
as well as modern economics
The economy of the United States has grown from an industrial nation that pulled us out of the Great Depression
to one based on technology and service-based products. While this new economy expanded greatly in the 1990s,
there were moments of weakness that prompt questions of the stability of such an economy in the future. For example,
there was the .com period of the stock market with wild speculation on the future of internet corporations. Eventually the .com bubble collapsed and many people lost great deals of money, though one might argue that speculation is as old as economy itself so this is nothing new. However, speculation in the past was more of a wealthy man's game, you needed money to make money. With the average day worker owning mutual funds for retirement or trading stocks themselves,
this allows many more people to be thrown into the speculation game. Future .com disasters could potentially drain the savings of millions of Americans, and possibly invoke a massive recession.
During recession, economies then to return to more of a goods market of basic necessities that everyone needs,
there is no money for luxury items. Now considering again the trend of the modern US economy, how much of our
economy is based on basic goods? One indication of the fragility of our economy in the face of a recession is the affect the Department of Justice's litigation against Microsoft had upon the stock exchanges. The NYSE as well as
the Nasdaq give an overall picture of the economy with their indices. Recently, the computation of these indices
has changed to include such technology giants as Microsoft and Intel. They have been included so much so
that any dip in Microsoft's value has a much greater impact upon the Nasdaq average than most other companies
included in the computation. If one day Microsoft collapses, this would drop the Nasdaq average such that a
recession would seem to have started. In a recession, do people really need computers, computer games, or to
surf the internet, basically supporting the technology markets? No, people will return to the staple items for
survival. This does not bode well for the modern US economy if ever the collapse of a major corporation like
Microsoft should occur.
In conclusion, the natural progression of economy tends to create larger and larger corporations, but not without
a risk of a future collapse of the economy. So will Gibson's mega-corporation exist someday? Probably yes, but
perhaps not without some growing pains.
In any case, I can't wait for my own pair of mirrorshades.