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Boosting the Net Economy 2000 (3-7 April 2000), the global online debate
sponsored by Bull Information Systems Limited, has questioned the ability of
large intergovernmental bodies, such as the World Trade Organisation, G8 or
OECD, to regulate e-commerce. Other live topics included the prospect of
converging currencies and development of spontaneous 'on-line unions'.

Boosting the Net Economy 2000 brings together 150 captains of industry,
political leaders and intellectuals from 45 countries.

On the second day of the debate (4 April 2000), Andrew Sleigh, UK Ministry
of Defence said: "Given the inherently non-centralised and fast moving
nature of the web... it is very difficult to see how any [intergovernmental
body] could be sufficiently agile, and act with adequate force to contain
the huge dynamic pressures which characterise the new economy."

"Instead we need to rely on the distributed effect of non-governmental
regulatory bodies that pervade almost every area of commercial activity...
They derive legitimacy not from law but from common consent amongst the
market sector or profession. The digital economy, by further tightening
globalisation, will shift the balance further in favour of these
international regulatory bodies and away from government."

Alain Madelin, President of Democratie Libérale in France, predicted the
emergence of a 'dual economy' composed of a "real economy" - encompassing
mature industries with low income and price elasticities - and a "virtual
economy" of new fast-growing activities linked to information and
characterised by very high price and income elasticities. He said, "In such
a new environment, booms and busts depend much more on financial market
dynamics than on government controls. Traditional macro-economic tools lose
most of their usual power. We are literally in a new economic world."

Sam Lanfranco of the International Internet Societal Task Force believes
that within the foreseeable future, national currencies will be replaced by
a handful of common currency areas. He says, "Some will be based on new
currencies, such as the Euro, while others will be based on existing
currencies." (Ecuador's 'dollarisation' is one recent example).

Andrew Mancey of the Sustainable Development Networking Programme in Guyana
took this concept further, saying, "As national economies merge into a
global economy, the emergence of a single currency is only a matter of time.

"When combining systems into one single system in order to achieve
efficiency and stability maximum compatibility is needed. This applies to
electronic systems, organic systems and surely to economic systems too. It
will happen as the perceived advantages overcome the resistance of vested

Commenting on the labour market, Tim Cole, former editor of the leading
German business magazine NET-Investor, floated the idea of flexible, virtual
labour unions. "Just as consumers will use the Internet to create instant
online purchasing communities, unorganised labour might in the future use
the net to form spontaneous, short-lived 'online unions'. These could very
well replace organised unions in many fields, especially given the trend
towards self-employment.

"In fact, these organisations could themselves be set up as private
enterprises, acting as agents for a commission fee or for a cut in any deals
reached with employers. After power shopping, why not power negotiating on
behalf of self-employed workers around the world?"

Boosting the Net Economy 2000 brings together 150 captains of industry,
political leaders and intellectuals from 45 countries around the world for
one week, 3-7 April 2000, in a Virtual Think-Tank. Browser-based, a
specially designed software interface affords participants in the Virtual
Think-Tank access to a series of online bulletin boards to exchange views on
the challenges and opportunities presented by the new Internet economy. The
recommendations of Boosting the Net Economy 2000 will be presented at the
international Bull 2000 conference, 11-12 May 2000, in the Louvre, Paris,

Bull has commissioned new media and electronic publishing company Headstar
to develop and implement the Virtual Think-Tank.

For further information:

Michael Gale

Bull Information Systems Ltd.

Tel: 020 8479 2344


Jessica Norrie / Lucinda Newton

Profile Public Relations Limited

Tel: 020 8948 6611


Visit Boosting the Net Economy 2000 on:

About Bull

Bull is an international IT Group that operates in more than 100 countries.
In 1999, the company earned revenues of 3.8 billion Euros with over 65%
outside of France, its country of origin.

Bull's strategy is focused on the Internet and electronic business in three
key domains: solutions with consulting and systems integration;
infrastructure including 'Internet ready' enterprise systems, Smart Cards
and software for secure infrastructure management; and managed services for
Intranets and e-commerce sites and marketplaces.

For more information, visit Bull Web site:


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