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Ch@nnelWeb: Thurownomics 101

Sep 25, 2000, 15:08 (38 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by John Roberts)

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"In his latest book, "Building Wealth: The New Rules For Individuals, Companies And Nations In A Knowledge-Based Economy," [MIT economist Lester] Thurow says that in today's global economy, knowledge,not physical assets,is the basis of wealth. That shift, fueled in large part by swift technological progress, is reshaping business, intellectual, political and social relationships."

"CRN_ You say Bill Gates controls the knowledge process. To the average person, that sounds a bit scary, like something out of Orwell's '1984.'

"THUROW_ Gates controls the knowledge process not because of anything he or Microsoft did. It's what economists call 'network economies of scale.' You and I want to use the same computer system. I want to walk into a hotel business office in Hong Kong and use the computer system without learning anything new. And if you think of these Internet auction sites, like the one the automobile companies are setting up [called Covisint], they don't work unless everybody uses exactly the same software. ... What we tend to forget in this kind of a world is that it's positive if we all use the same system, not negative."

"CRN_ Do you think the Linux operating system will be successful?

THUROW_ It can't possibly work. It's open architecture. People change it, and the changes aren't compatible. Look at Unix. There are now 18 different incompatible versions. That started out as one system with open architecture. The only way [software] can be compatible is if one company owns it."

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