by Bill Bonner
Gualfin (“End of the Road”), Argentina – “Remember 1999? What a great time to be alive! Mankind stood on the foothills of Olympus ready to join the assembly of gods – rollicking, frolicking and generally misbehaving without regret. The World Wide Web was gaining velocity. It was widely believed that breakthroughs in communications had “removed the speed limits” to economic growth. Information was now readily and easily available to everyone.
Any dope in Peoria could go on the Web and find out how to manufacture a bomb in his basement or make a cherry pie in his kitchen. And the genius in Kuala Lumpur or Kabul was now liberated from the lowbred, backward and benighted people around him; he could see what fun it would be to have a Beverly Hills ZIP code. And he could reach across the World Wide Web and get a chisel and a steel file to create a killer website… and free himself from his miserable circumstances.
The End of History: So many people… in so many places… all yearning for home-delivered pizza and fortunes from day trading stocks – this was supposed to lead to rates of progress never before seen by human eyes. The evidence could be witnessed in the stock market. Shares of start-ups promising breakthroughs in all areas – from transportation to medicine to home entertainment – were selling at earnings multiples utterly disconnected from the norms that had ruled investing hitherto fore. What price was too high for a technology that revealed the secrets of the cosmos and unleashed its hidden power?