One obvious characteristic of the Information Economy is that in general more information is available to more people.

JohnRobb argues that many groups are being empowered by this extra information and are gaining financially. In particular these groups include customers who have access to knowledge of a wider range of suppliers and product evaluations, and employees who have knowledge of a wider range of potential employers, and job offers. The losers in this change are corporations, and their shareholders. And he illustrates it by pointing to the unprecedentedly low corporate profitability during recent years. His prediction is that we are heading for a, pretty much indefinite, period of economic growth without high corporate earnings or a healthy stock-market. Hence some traditional indicators of economic well-being will have to be ignored.

Robb sees this as a reversal of an earlier trend towards greater shareholder power and greater wealth moving to shareholders. Although Robb doesn't explicitly draw this out, it could be that that earlier shift in power occured when information technology was first being adopted by shareholders, by investment banks and brokerages. Then they had the benefits of faster access to information. And so now this more recent shift redresses the balance between stakeholders, as information flow becomes more democratically distributed.

The New Economy (

The New Economy 2 (

How To Manage Companies in the New Economy (

This reversal is the swing back from IT lowering internal transaction costs (as discussed in TheMarketLogicOfInformation) towards lowering market transaction costs.


If this really is the case, and shareholder profits are being squeezed out of the system as an unjustifiable expense, the endgame is the elimination of companies altogether. If shareholders can't make money from their investment why invest? (Unless the stock market literally becomes a casino, where share ownership is the entry ticket and the internal dynamics of the market are a giant tombola)

If companies have no reason or capacity to exist, more work will get done through ad hoc networks of amateurs and freelancers. The freelancers will have to invest their own money to fund the network, but these will be of necessity, miniscule companies.

See AlternativesToCompanies / TheAgeOfAmateurs


Story about China (OnChina) and contrast WiredTradeUnions