Picking an engine for prosperity

Who's not getting swept along - at least to some degree - in the surging currents of high technology?

Consumers can't get enough of the new devices and software packages that ease their private and professional lives.

Bright-eyed "B-school" graduates shrug off blue-chip job offers at venerable old firms to join software companies (or join the "dot-com" Internet gold rush that's powering software's rise).

Investors find that technology stocks keep electrifying the market. Redefining it. Last week the venerable Dow Jones Industrial lineup was rejigged to better represent the face of US business.

In went the likes of Microsoft; and out fell the likes Goodyear.

It's economic evolution.

And since everybody knows technology's a snooze-and-you-lose sector if there ever was one - why look anywhere else?

One argument: It's about America's place in the world.

Some critics worry that a work force of specialists cranking out "soft" products will leave America too vulnerable to low-cost foreign competition. And also leave our less-skilled workers behind.

Even US high-tech workers could ultimately face narrowing job options. Technology tends to converge, its purveyors to merge.

Traditional manufacturers, for their part, are scrambling to double as "service providers" and forge alliances with tech firms.

But boosters of the wide-open New Economy may be speaking with the loudest voice. Even Al Gore, point man for the party of big labor, is fervent about technology as America's main engine.

In this week's lead story: new thinking on a high-stakes issue.

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(c) Copyright 1999. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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