M.H. GOLDHABER'S Principles of the NEW ECONOMY

Latest update: August 23, 1996


These are some of the principles that I am trying to utilize in the composition of my Web site.

  1. Cyberspace is where the new kind of economy comes into its own. Like any economy the new one is based on what is both most desirable and ultimately most scarce, and now this is the attention that comes from other people.


  2. Attention is scarce because each of us has only so much of it to give, and it can come only from us -- not machines, computers or anywhere else.


  3. An economy has to be based on something that is fungible, that is that can be passed along, and one thing about cyberspace -- e.g., the web -- is how conveniently you can pass on attention through hyperlinks.


  4. Not everyone can attract the same amount of attention. Some of us are stars, but most just fans.


  5. The more you pay attention to someone, the more that person is etched in your memory, and the easier it feels to pay still more to her.


  6. So, roughly, your attention wealth = size x attentiveness of your past and present audiences.


  7. Unlike the old matter-based wealth, the new wealth is nothing you can hope to put under lock and key. You get it by reaching out into the world.


  8. Wealth therefore comes to you by expressing yourself fully. The best guarantee you have for attention going to you for what you do is living your life as openly as possible, expressing yourself as publicly as possible as early as possible (hence it makes sense to put out drafts, early versions, so there are witnesses for everything you do.)


  9. Also you accumulate attention through the full extent of your personality --everything that makes you distinctly you and not someone else. If I had the technology handy for instance, I should show you what I look like, or maybe even do this as a video. (Maybe I should even strip naked like a cover figure on Vanity Fair magazine, but I'm a little too shy.)


  10. So the new privacy and the old are direct opposite. The new privacy means having no secrets, which you don't normally need to have, because little that was previously shameful or had to be concealed is so now. For example "sex between consenting adults in private" -- a seventies concept-- can now certainly be talked about or even shown on video "in public," so in what sense the sex itself is in private--or need be-- anymore is hard to tell.


  11. What people do demand as privacy now is freedom from having to pay attention, not from being seen but seeing what they don't want to.


    If this is of interest, and you want more on the subject of attention, read on.

    ---All this comes from a book I have been working on for some time, to be titledThe Attention Economy .Drafts are available, ironically for $21.95. Contact me at the e-mail address below for ordering info.

    And see also my:


    More later

    --Michael H. Goldhaber / mgoldh.@well.com /8/23/96/