What ever happened to ultraprosperity?
August 4, 2001 9:26 PM   Subscribe

What ever happened to ultraprosperity? This 1999 article written on the middle of dotcom stocktopia may make you laugh, cry or keep scratching your head, at least. Now, where's the "ultraprosperity" we were promised when we need it the most - right now- us balancing in the verge of recession, burst bubbles and nonstop layoffs?
posted by betobeto (8 comments total)
There's also Wired's 1997 piece on their projection of The Long Boom.

After the first page, I've only scanned the '99 article, but it seems several degrees more money obsessed than the '97 article, reinforcing my disenchantment with the stock watch organ that Wired became.

Personally, I had two dot com's fold under me, but I managed to move on at higher salaries each time, including my current employment, so despite the turmoil and occasional sleazy dealings by people I trusted, the Net has been a net positive for my career. Still, it has been a scary ride at times.
posted by NortonDC at 10:15 PM on August 4, 2001

"Yet ultraprosperity for Americans looks more plausible all the time. The metrics point to it: a booming stock market, low inflation, high employment, steady consumer confidence, price stability, low interest rates, rising wages, lowering crime, and no sign of any of these waning."

Somehow, I don't think such rampant optimism was warranted even for those heady days. Most of us saw the carnage coming, didn't we?
posted by brownpau at 11:06 PM on August 4, 2001 [1 favorite]

For a little while, I truly bought the hype. My confidence began to shatter when TheGlobe got its insane valuation, then as I was watching CNBC - some obscure website that had gone public saw its stock price rise 2-300% in a day because they had announced a "strategic alliance" with Amazon.com. Later in the day, the reporters uncovered that said alliance was nothing more than a signup for the Amazon.com Associates program. Insane.
posted by owillis at 11:36 PM on August 4, 2001 [1 favorite]

I remember reading The Long Boom issue, and feeling all millennially thrilled with the whole thing, and just aquiver with hope that the technology-fired wealth that rich countries were building would rub off somehow on poorer countries and that we were in for a era of peace and prosperity the likes of which we had never seen.

Stupid me, huh?

But even taking into account the dot-comedy of errors of the last 18 months or so, I still think that information technology and all the human activities it touches, economic and otherwise, are very early on in their transformation of the world. Honest, I do. The Long Boom? Maybe. Ultra-prosperity? Well, possibly. But a better world, in some ways at least, I think.

At the end of the day, f**k Amazon.com and all the money-inspired hype. It's a sideshow. The anecdote that owillis relates was one of thousands, all of were to one degree or another a result of the fact that the dollars, and the lust for 'em, make people stupid.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 12:08 AM on August 5, 2001

How about Dow 36,000?
posted by pracowity at 4:55 AM on August 5, 2001

For me, the true nature of the tech stock boom became apparent when the stock of the amateurish study-guide site PinkMonkey (PMKY) rose from $1 to $17 in one day in 1998 in response to a company press release that claimed it was "poised to become the Amazon.Com of the Educational Study Aid Market."

Almost no information was available on the company, it had no full-time employees, and the company president told Briefing.Com that selling $30 worth of guides was a "real good day" (source). None of this stopped the company from being briefly valued at $250 million.
posted by rcade at 6:28 AM on August 5, 2001

Already the concept of a 'millionaire' isn't what it used to mean -- a person who could affoard anything they wanted and then some -- but its still retains that charm.

The truth is a millionaire now a days is just someone who can affoard a three family house in Queens NY., or a decent house in Bergen County, New Jersey.
posted by brucec at 8:27 AM on August 5, 2001

Or a one-bedroom condo in San Francisco...
posted by fooljay at 5:05 PM on August 5, 2001

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