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[FYI] Bruce Sterling: Hard Times: A Letter from 2035
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- Subject: [FYI] Bruce Sterling: Hard Times: A Letter from 2035
- From: Kristian Köhntopp <email@example.com>
- Date: Sat, 04 Mar 2000 12:12:19 +0100
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Hard Times: A Letter from 2035
You had the Depression, irrational exuberance, and
just the same in 2035, except now the Okies have cell
They sure gave us plenty of warning: "There's no
such thing as a New Economy. You can't repeal
the business cycle."
Well, they were dead wrong about the New
Economy. Once we got used to it, the New
Economy made a lot more sense than the Old
Economy did. It was faster, cheaper, sleeker, and
smarter. The New Economy turned out to be quite
a realistic, practical thing. And unlike the Industrial
Revolution, the New Economy had an amazingly
low body count. There just wasn't any proper
word for it but "progress."
Unfortunately, however, they were right all along
about the "business cycle."
By your standards, today's society is extremely
businesslike. Basically, there's no place to be but
in business. Government is in the "administration
business." Artists are in the "culture industry."
Doctors and nurses are "biotech entrepreneurs."
Cops are "private security professionals."
Scientists work for "industrial R&D." Academics are
"career-training professionals." Helpfully, we tend
to shoot all our lawyers, unless they are
"intellectual-property lawyers," in which case they
basically behave like Mafia dons.
In the old days, a businessman was some guy
with a suit, brown shoes, and an MBA who lived in
a mirror-glass building. Well, the New Economy did
all those people in. They're a dead profession
now, dead as buffalo skinners. Same goes for
their enterprises. Nowadays the typical life
expectancy of a corporation is about 18 months. A
company lasts about as long as a typical product
In 2035 we're all about equity; even the
newspaper boy and the grocer live like IPO
hustlers in Silicon Valley, circa 1995. I've
personally started, sold, or abandoned 37
companies, and as for the giant, three-initial
company downtown in its skyscraper--forget
about it. We knocked down all those old
mirror-glass buildings because, frankly, the 20th
century's idea of architecture was a bad joke. All
that old-fashioned brick and mortar was cluttering
up the highly valuable real estate in our very
crowded world. We turned it all into fabulous
enterprises that you never even imagined, like
Bio-Cognitive Reeducation Centers and our lavish,
highly spectacular Garbage Recycling Theme Parks.
Kristian Koehntopp, Knooper Weg 46, 24103 Kiel, +49 170 2231 811
"Once you find your center, you are sure to win." -- Mulan