The New Economy of Fealty

PRINCETON – Since the 2008 financial crisis, most industrial economies have avoided anything like the collapse that occurred during the Great Depression of the 1930’s. But, despite large-scale fiscal and monetary stimulus, they are not experiencing any dramatic economic rebound. Moreover, the pre-crisis trend of rising income and wealth inequality is continuing (in marked contrast to the post-Great Depression period, in which inequality declined). And survey data show a rapid decline in people’s satisfaction and confidence about the future.

The explanation of the post-crisis malaise – and people’s perception of it – lies in the combination of economic uncertainty and the emergence of radically new forms of social interaction. Long-term structural shifts are fundamentally changing the nature of work, and thus of the way that we think of economic exchange.