The rise of information technology and the decline of central authority spells good news for communications stocks and greater volatility for foreign exchange, predict analysts at The Williams Inference Service, Long Meadow, Mass.
Williams' big-picture thinkers, who sell their views on emerging trends to institutional investors and corporate strategists, see a major shakeup occurring in U.S. culture, generated by a global credit crunch, disinterest in politics and government by young people and development of information technology.
Trust in government has declined precipitously since 1964, Williams analysts note. With television, the Internet and CD-ROMs starting to liberate people from traditional channels of communication, individuals have to assume greater responsibility for their own lives, they argue.
The trend already is surfacing. There has been a huge rise in "non-profit" volunteer organization in the past 20 years, reflecting greater self-sufficiency and less dependence on government. George Soros and others are supporting the trend globally, financing local foundations to do social service work.
Traditional corporate structures also are passe. The whiz kids of the '90s are choosing to work for themselves, not major corporations. Meanwhile, a rapidly growing part of the population is directly accessing the information superhighway through the Internet and commercial information services. But the potential for commercial use of cyberspace barely has begun, Williams officials say.
The upshot: lazy monopolies will decline, center city real estate will become less important and the non-profit social sector will continue to grow. Plus, governments unable to rein in their debts will lead to greater currency volatility.