In today’s Times, Henry hits it, I think.
TEN years ago this month, the initial public offering of the Internet pioneer Netscape set off a dot-com boom that today is usually viewed as a sort of financial kindergarten recess, a regrettable free-for-all of idiocy and greed. Although this view does capture an aspect of the period – the arrogance and punch-drunk frivolity that come with easy money – it misses the big picture. It also implies that had we only been smarter and more disciplined in the late 1990’s, we could have spared ourselves the pain and embarrassment that followed. History suggests otherwise.
The growth of the Internet has paralleled that of most industries based on revolutionary technology. Canals, railroads, telegraphs, telephones, cars, radios, personal computers – all progressed (or are progressing) through four phases of development: boom, bust, mature growth and decay.