This profile deals with some of the more interesting (or
merely influential) writers about the information economy
and networked communication systems.
Each page offers a short biography, highlights writing
of particular importance and notes some of the major critical
It also provides an introduction to themes in writing
about the net, including the information society, mapping
the information economy, digital futurists and what one
of our clients has characterised as 'the cosmocrats'.
The profile is eclectic and and of course not definitive.
in this profile
The following pages deal with -
Machlup and mapping the production
of information in the 'information economy'
Claude Shannon and mathematical
Ithiel de Sola Pool and the vision of the borderless
Max Weber and bureaucratisation of the digital revolution
Thorstein Veblen and the 'new
Marshall McLuhan and technological
Alan Turing, codes and regulation
Alfred Chandler, investment
and the shape of business in a wired economy
Joseph Schumpeter and 'creative
Ronald Coase and information
Daniel Bell and the 'Information
Esther Dyson and the vicissitudes of power
George Gilder and high-tech futurism, from Toffler to
Saskia Sassen and globalisation
Manuel Castells and the GII
One of the sillier aspects of recent 'new economy' hype
is the claim that the web represents a fundamental change
from the past and the 'new rules' have been discovered
in the past ten years, generally by men who wear black
t-shirts or Armani suits. John Barlow, for example, warbles
are in the middle of the most transforming technological
event since the capture of fire. I used to think that
it was just the biggest thing since Gutenberg, but now
I think you have to go back further.
practice some of the most powerful insights have come
from the 'pre-digital' era. And many of the slogans mouthed
by today's pundits originated in the writing of theorists
from the age of black & white television, rather than
the 500 channel broadband infotopia.
This profile is an informal tribute to some of those thinkers.
It also offers a perspective on recent developments. We
for example consider that the writings of Alfred Chandler
or Thorsten Veblen provide greater insights into the new
economy and 'being digital' than those of more fashionable
gurus such as Nicholas Negroponte, Paul Saffo or Kevin