The American economy in 2016 is full of contradictions.
On the one hand, we’re in an era of rapid technological progress. The internet has disrupted industries from retail to music. Emerging technologies like self-driving cars and virtual reality promise to take the trend a step further, creating whole new industries while rendering many conventional jobs obsolete.
At the same time, the current recovery has delivered the weakest GDP growth in many decades. Incomes and worker productivity have grown slowly. Despite record-low interest rates, business investment has been weak ever since the recession ended.
So what’s really going on? It’s a question that’s far too big to answer in a single article. In fact, we think it’s big and important enough to be worth its own section at Vox.
We think it’s impossible to really understand the changing economy without a deep understanding of technology. The internet and smartphone have already upended a number of conventional industries. Advocates say a wave of new technologies — Bitcoin, self-driving cars, the “internet of things,” and so forth — are poised to be even more disruptive. We’ll take a careful look at these emerging technologies, explaining how these technologies work and exploring what they can — and can’t — do.
And this works in reverse too: The technology sector is strongly affected by larger economic forces. Record-low interest rates have helped fuel Silicon Valley’s investment boom. Crippling housing shortages in the San Francisco Bay Area have limited the growth of technology startups. Decisions made by government regulators will have a big impact on emerging technologies like drones and cryptocurrencies. And broader economic statistics often serve as a much-needed reality check on the relentless hyping of new technologies.
So New Money will explain economics for people who love technology. And we’ll explain technology for people who are fascinated by economics.
Of course, we’ll also track and explain day-to-day business stories that have a bearing on these larger questions. This week, for example, I’ll have my eye on the problems at Deutsche Bank and Wells Fargo and rumors of an impending sale of Twitter.
We’ll cover Apple product introductions, Federal Reserve meetings, and everything in between. But our goal won’t be to break news or provide comprehensive coverage of these topics. Rather, the goal will be to help readers connect the dots between today’s business news and broader technology and economic trends.
These are topics I’ve enjoyed writing about for a number of years, and I’m excited to focus on them full time. I hope you enjoy reading about them!
You can read the first New Money article here. Future articles will appear on the New Money front page.