Remarks by Rep. Edward J. Markey, U.S. House of Representatives
Good Morning and welcome to the New Economy summit. It has
been nearly a year since I began working with Boston College
- under the excellent, and blessed, leadership of Father Leahy
- to convene this gathering on the New Economy. Our focus
is most appropriate to this moment in time in eastern Massachusetts
when an extraordinary outburst of entrepreneurship and technological
innovation, new policy direction aided by foresighted governmental
decisions, and a spiral of capital formation options have
combined to provide, both here and throughout our country,
the lowest sustained level of non-inflationary unemployment
aid our understanding of this confluence of events, and to
help place it in proper context, we have for you today one
of the all-time all-star line-ups ever assembled, anytime,
anywhere. These outstanding guests have graciously agreed
to share their special insights with us, and we are grateful
for this opportunity.
of us have heard of the New Economy, but what it is, where
it exists, and what it means still largely eludes many people
- from economists to entrepreneurs, dotcom people to dotgov
people. For some, it is a new reason for increased optimism
and hope for our future. For many, talk of the New Economy
induces anxiety about what the future might hold.
natural. There's even some comfort in the thought that it's
remotely possible that even Bill Gates feels this way sometimes.
Yet corporate decision-makers in their 50's -- the same age
as the electronic computer itself -- are often at a loss for
what to recommend for their companies as they contemplate
business ventures in cyberspace.
watching non-computer literate, mid-level managers (and some
of the old economy CEOs) attempting to articulate the new
business opportunities on the Internet is downright "dotcomical".
sometimes conjure up the image of the Gary Larson cartoon
where a Tyrannosaurus Rex is at a gathering of the Society
of Late Cretaceous Dinosaurs, listening to a lecture on "How
to Enjoy the Cooler Weather."
Tale of Two Economies
no question that there is dramatic change afoot. Yet what
is the character of this change? Thomas Mann once said, "A
great truth is a truth whose opposite is also a great truth."
so it is with the New Economy, where the "wondrous wire" that
brings new services to homes, businesses and schools will
have a certain Dickensian quality to it: it will be the Tale
of Two Economies: the old economy and the new economy, a Dow
economy and a NASDAQ economy. Often the Two Economies seem
to exist side-by-side, in uneasy competition. At other times
they seem to blend together.
seeing off-line, old economy stalwarts - such as the auto
industry -- becoming online, new economy entrants, where autos,
tires, spare parts can all be previewed and ordered online.
Moreover, we're seeing new business models developed such
as those pioneered by Lycos and CMGI and Yahoo.
Here in Massachusetts, look at what has happened to the top
companies in the Bay State over the last year. Four of the
top six - Sycamore, CMGI, Analog Devices and Akamai - were
not even in the top eight just one year ago.
New Economy Boston
generation ago, here at Boston College, business leaders gathered
with policy professionals to craft the blueprint for a new
Boston. Over a series of meetings and seminars here at BC
that new Boston took shape.
discussions constituted an industrial era investigation into
the infrastructure needs of the region - roads, bridges, beltways,
airports, parks, commuter trains. Sometime in the 21st century,
rumor has it that we will finish the Big Dig, which will mark
the culmination of this infrastructure renewal. In other words,
the physical infrastructure is now largely in place.
we need to focus on the challenges posed by cyberspace in
an online era rife with both risk and reward. We must look
not only at the technological change rippling throughout industries
and throughout our society, but also, at the changes in society
and our cultural attitudes toward the new economy itself that
the technology compels us to consider.
need to look at our educational infrastructure. At the ties
between corporation and community, between business leaders
and the neighborhoods from whence their future workers will
come. Do we have an effective plan? Have we thought about
it sufficiently? How do we build on the E-rate, a critical
feature of the Telecom Act, to ensure the success of discounted
connections to schools and libraries?
recently released a report entitled "Opportunity Knocks" which
analyzed the intersection of worker training and the New Economy.
Not surprisingly it found that education was a key ingredient
for income, but the disparity between educational levels was
the report found was that in 1980, male college graduates
earned on average 34 percent more than their counterparts
who only had a high school education. Today, male college
graduates earn 60 percent more than their high school counter
male post-graduates in 1980 made 15 percent more than male
college graduates. Today, male post-graduates make 58 percent
more than their college counterparts.
disparity has widened even though we are in an era of increasing
college enrollments. In 1960, for instance, 54 percent of
males and 38 percent of women enrolled in college. By 1997,
college enrollment rates had soared to nearly 70 percent for
women and close to 64 percent for men.
training, therefore, takes on increasing importance, especially
for "old economy" workers as we transition into a new economy,
post-GATT, post-NAFTA world. We have to look at this in a
way characterized by author Tom Friedman's term "globalocalism."
We want Massachusetts to be the brain trust of the global
village, we have to prepare our local communities and our
local business chieftains to lead as the Bay State transforms
itself into the "dot.Commonwealth."
Series of Conferences
is the third in a series of conferences I have helped put
together with BC, and my fourth since 1992. I have done so
to help leaders here in Massachusetts understand the vast
changes being wrought by digital technologies throughout our
economy and our society.
I believe these conferences help explain the concept of convergence,
the reasons why some of us fight in Washington to break down
bottlenecks to competition in telecommunications and electricity,
the necessity for open platforms and open markets where convergence,
innovation, and growth can take place.
in Massachusetts we probably have the highest per capita concentration
of brainpower anywhere on the planet. Nearly one out of every
five National Merit Scholar finalists attends school within
10 miles of where you are sitting. With our universities and
our labs we are a globally-recognized center for learning.
We have natural advantages in a world headed toward a knowledge-based
A century ago in the era of steam, Boston was known as the
"Hub of the Universe." Today, in an era of zipping "zeros"
and "ones" we're fast becoming the "Hub & Router of the Universe."
Where once Boston was a great port, we are now a world-class
portal. The Cradle of Liberty is now the Crucible of Internet
Innovation. We now have all the responsibility that comes
with leadership. This conference is part of fulfilling that
Noosphere & Cyberspace
It is also appropriate that we are having this conference
at Boston College, not only because this is where the seminars
were held a few decades ago on the New Boston. It is also
appropriate because BC is a Jesuit institution of higher learning.
The Jesuits, as many people here know, are the pre-eminent
sacerdotal order within the Catholic Church when it comes
to education. What many people don't know is the Jesuit contribution
to science and to the values that should shape human interaction
In 1947 -- one year after the computer was created - a French
Jesuit priest named Teilhard de Chardin began talking about
an emerging worldwide web.
wrote, however, not about the sheer wonder of a linked network
of machinery, but rather about the true intelligence of such
a network -- the human aspect of it. In a book called The
Formation of the Noosphere a half a century ago he wrote the
one can deny that a network (a world network) of economic
and psychic affiliations is being woven at ever increasing
speed which envelops and constantly penetrates more deeply
within each of us. With every day that passes it becomes a
little more impossible for us to act or think otherwise than
philosophy foreshadowed what we would hear later from Marshall
McLuhan. McLuhan's "global village" metaphor was in many ways
merely "secular shorthand" for much of Teilhard's philosophy.
a student at Boston College, I was taught that what Teilhard
envisioned 50 years ago, at the birth of the electronic computer,
was a convergence of humans in a single, massive "noosphere"
(from the Greek "noos," meaning "mind"). Although Teilhard
articulated his vision using a religious lexicon, his concept
of a web of human connectivity that would envelop the Earth
and be propelled by human consciousness sounds remarkably
similar to today's Net.
want to thank the Jesuits and the Boston College community
for their contributions to this endeavor and for hosting us
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