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As

one can see there are many striking parallels between the Gilded Age or the era

from the eighteen eighties to the eighteen nineties compared to the Silicon Age

of the nineteen eighties to the nineteen nineties. The preconditions for these

two massive economic booms share similar birth paths laid in laissez faire

policy, no regulation or deregulation and innovative booms. Before the 1880’s

there was no real conflict between the welfare of the American people and that

of its business units. That happy relationship lasted only until the 1880s. Big

business or Trusts, appeared in the United States during that decade. Once they

were established, it grew faster and to a larger size than it did elsewhere. One

reason was the absence of any countervailing force in America. A new country

made up almost entirely of immigrants, who needed jobs, big business was

welcomed and a favorable economic policy provided a catalyst for there birth.

These economic conditions gave rise to innovators, monopolists, and most

importantly, rugged individuals who changed the landscape of the worlds economy

forever. Their huge personalities went hand in hand with the vast size of their

empires. The problems big business raised provoked a powerful public response

that immediately moved into the realm of the political economy and provided for

a change in the leniency of laissez faire. In the closing years of the

nineteenth century, the United States became the only major industrial power to

enact legislation explicitly designed to curb the power of large corporations.

Congress passed the Interstate Commerce Act in 1887, the Sherman Antitrust Act

in 1890, and the Federal Trade Commission and Clayton acts in 1914. The Sherman

Antitrust Act remains the most stringent in the world. The nineteen eighty’s and

more importantly Ronald Reagan’s election victory was the catalyst for the

Silicon Age. Reagan and his re- clothed trickle down economics or "Reaganomics"

brought laissez faire to a maximum point. Not only did he repeal or lay off

enforcement of these anti trust and anti business laws, but went as far as

dropping the Governments case anti trust cases. The stagnant equity markets

began to take flight and the greatest bull market continues 15 years later.

Coupled with major tax cuts and financial market innovations, an era of

technological revolution appeared. This Era would witness innovations and Titans

the likes as we have never seen before. What we call the New Economy is truly

the dawn of a new age, a Silicon Age. The numbers have been impressive: a 70%

increase in real profits since 1990, inflation below 2%, 4.5% unemployment, plus

rising real wages, even for the lowest paid workers. The 1990’s have all the

ingredients in place for a further surge of innovation that could rival the

Gilded Ages. Over the next decade or so, the New Economy, so far propelled

mainly by information technology may turn out to be only the initial stage of a

much broader flowering of technological, business, and financial creativity. The

economy seems to be undergoing a wholesale rejuvenation. Businesses, financial

service firms, and universities are reinventing themselves. Even politicians and

policymakers are starting to grasp the new technological and economic

realities.(Business Week). The New Economy or Silicon Age of the 21st Century

Economy will still resemble the economies of old in market behavior though. Each

innovative surge creates economic and social ills, from recessions to

stock-market crashes to widespread job losses, and this one won’t be different.

But that’s the price a nation must pay to achieve the benefits of dynamic

change.


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