"Blame your parents, broken image.
Blame the counter-culture, and the global village.
Memory lost to pride..."
— 54-40, Blame Your Parents

The transformation of American society in the pre-War era was one of the great mixed- success stories of capitalism in the early New Century. On the one hand, the burdens of an aging society combined with low savings and massive trade and budget deficits lead to a near-crisis situation in 2015 and to two mild recessions since the mid-1990s. On the other hand, the enormous investment in computers and telecommunications during those same years eventually reaped enormous rewards twenty years later, much as the benefits of electricity and the automobile only emerged a long time after their invention.

After the opening of international markets to true competition in services, the amazing productivity advantage of the US economy in this field became self-evident as corporation after American corporation captured foreign markets in everything from insurance to consulting to medical services.

This was in stark contrast to the fading star of manufacturing, a sector of the US economy which now only employs 8% of the population (as opposed to 30% in Informatics) and which is generally regarded as an unimportant relic of the TwenCen. Despite fierce resistance to de-industrialization, foreign branch plants and the transfer of industrial jobs to the Third-World, it turned out that these industries soon became so competitive that profit margins became slim and unreliable, much as what happened to light electronics during the 1990s. The real profits (and value-added) were now in research, design, product development, and brand marketing - something in which creative Americans exceeded their more conservative Japanese and European colleagues.

The old triad of Land, Capital and Natural Resources have become obsolete in the new economy. Land as agriculture is cheap and very productive, even when not always available to peasants in the poor world. Capital is available anywhere in any form through the global financial markets and through global venture capitalists. Natural resources - apart from petroleum - are plentiful and very cheap, and can be bought for pennies from thousands of sources. Modern production techniques and robotics have made manufacturing hyper-efficient to the point that even places like Mongolia can build cars and freezers competitively. This leaves ideas as the only good of real value, and ideas are what the West is good at. The key to prosperity is to excel at things that cannot be copied. New circuit processors can be reverse- engineered; a new song by Devastated Union cannot.

The modern American economy runs on Assembleries, Media, Informatics, Finance and Culture. Assembleries are the basic 'factories' of major corporations and are composed of equal team members from many fields of study, including humanists from Genetic Ethics to Industrial History. It is the job of each assemblery within a corporation to create products and compete with each other as well as other corporations to produce a superior idea. This internal market fosters efficiency and a short product- development cycle.

Using Ford as an example, the executive would assign several assembleries the task of 'building' a new car. Each assemblery would contact its freelance creative geniuses, such as Birn Jofenson of Scania, to create abstracts and 'cool stuff'. Then the team would create designs, run simulations, build virtual models, do soft reality field tests and perform basic research using the company pool of knowledge known as the Infosphere. Then the assemblery would contact thousands of small car-parts companies in the Third-world to build parts to specs through the vast global Purchase Network. The parts would then be put together by one of the large industrial combines in such places as North China or Holy Russia. A separate distributor would then ship the cars to a separate 'car supermarket' where another global marketing corp would promote it to the customer. The best and most profitable assembleries would receive consequently higher wage-scales, benefits and equipment. At no point during the entire process have Ford employees handled an actual car component, yet they are paid vastly higher wages (on the American Wage Scale) than the factory workers in Russia. The creative geniuses who do abstracts are paid astronomical sums and can choose any contract in the international arena. In some cases the whim of 'artistes' has broken the power of a major corporation. This is the new informatics economy.