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Recently, it has become fashionable for French officials to describe America, using intonations of Gallic petulance, as a " Hyperpower ". While this is not really an accurate neologism to apply to the United States the term itself struck me as an interesting use of language. While doing some reading for a lecture I was preparing on another topic it occurred to me that the prefix " Hyper-" would be extremely useful to describe the interaction between globalization and the increasing ubiquity of exceptionally powerful information technology. In other words, we are approaching the era of the Global Hypereconomy. By the term " Global Hypereconomy " I mean that economic activity is subject to world market transactions in real time, all the time, as a normal state of affairs. Financial sectors of the advanced nations are virtually in this condition already and to generalize, the greater the proportion that information constitutes as a percentage of a good, the closer that other industries are to achieving a state of true " Hypereconomy". There will of course, always be a physical limit to the speed with which the actual movement of material goods can take place that does not exist for pure knowledge products that can be downloaded with a click of a mouse. Despite this barrier, a strategic, global network of integrated information, storage and transportation facilities used by a producer of a physical good can achieve " Practical Hypereconomy " for the customers who are willing to pay for accelerated delivery Before proceeding, due credit must be given to Alvin and Hedi Toffler, the civilizational theorists who first raised he issue of the sociological effects of " speeding up " the pace of life through the systematic improvement of technology, in their books, _Futureshock_ , _TheThird Wave_ and _Powershift_. The Tofflers' paradigmatic ideas merited a wider hearing from the academic community than they received at the time but having been published in a very much Cold War context, some of their speculations which are now being borne out did seem rather fantastic. Another more recent but much narrower and less profound work by James Gleick, _Faster: the Acceleration of Just about Everything_, also focuses on the psychological and social effect of today's frenetic lifestyle. In either case, none of the authors concentrated exclusively on the macroeconomic picture. By raising this topic I'm hoping to generate a discussion from the list, especially from any economic historians, political economists or conceptually- minded scholars their ideas as to what effects these revolutionary trends will yield. My thoughts are as follows: As one sector of the economy moves toward continuous, instantaneous market exchange, other sectors will tend to follow assuming they have the freedom and resources to do so. The United States, given the combination of economic freedom, vast wealth and a commanding technological lead is likely to become first Hypereconomic state and it will drag it's trading partners along in its wake. However there will probably be a " Tiering " effect both between nations as well as within them. No country of significant size having any kind of semi-rural or rural population will ever be likely to become fully, 100% Hypereconomic because the money that would be required to make investments in older types of infrastructure to bring lagging areas " up to speed " would be more profitably spent keeping " wired " urban regions globally competitive. Where for example would China draw the greatest return for its yuan - investing in building a first-rate software industry in Shanghai or in constructing ground stations in Inner Mongolia for media communication ? Eventually when the discrepancy between Hypereconomic regions of a nation and provinces operating at an older, slower economic pace becomes too great, distortions of the economy will arise followed by social unrest. Centrifugal forces in such countries like India, China and Russia will gain strength, possibly splitting these nations apart as Hypereconomic elites in all states begin to find greater utility and social value in economic ties than in nation-states. Geographically small but advanced states like Singapore or Israel may actually be in the best position of all, being able to transition into the Global Hypereconomy with the least internal disorder Many Third World states would seem to have very, very dim prospects. Since the large majority are multicultural, happenstance constructs of 19th century European colonialism, there is little other than economic reasons for them to remain intact. A few states ( or regions of states ) having relatively well educated if poor populations will make the leap to the Global Hypereconomy and prosper, some will continue to eke out a middling existence as suppliers of vital raw materials and the rest will simply collapse into anarchy and cease to exist. On a microeconomic level, another consideration leaps to mind. Previously individuals as well as corporations have relied on " time-lag " as a type of credit. The 9-5, closed on Sunday, postmark by, allow 7 days for delivery, the check is in the mail economy exacted a built-in interest-free loan from all creditors that is impossible to justify with 24 hour a day, 365 days a year, instantaneous communication technology. The cost of shifting to global payment on demand will be monumental - many hundreds of billions of dollars - as the always theoretical portion of the money supply is forced to materialize. This will hit two key demographic segments the hardest in every first-world nation: the lower-middle classes who live fairly well but typically do so paycheck to paycheck; and small to medium sized entrepreneurs who with regularity have temporary cash-flow problems. Once the great majority of a population adjusts to Hypereconomic payment requirements it will seem as normal to them as yesteryear's lengthy delays, but the interim transition is likely to produce volcanic frustrations. None of these observations leads me to conclude that the social costs I've noted will not be greatly, vastly, immeasurably outweighed by the economic benefits and stunning improvement in real living standards that a capitalistic Global Hypereconomy will bring. In fact, I'm fully in favor of the transition occurring unimpeded by governmental " solutions " trying to hold back the tides. I also realize that the social democratic to radically inclined members of H-Diplo are just as confirmed in their views as I am in mine. So what I'm proposing is less another debate over the morality of capitalism as it exists today than a discussion of where it might be going and what the world will look like when we get there. Mark Safranski