The Continent Warms To The New Economy

Alan Greenspan may believe in the New Economy, but outside of Britain, Europeans have tended to be skeptical of the idea. Germans, in particular, still like to build things and are wary of companies that don't seem to have much more than a Web site and a quirky business plan. That's starting to change, however. It can be seen in places like Frankfurt. Something is happening in this city, where bankers such as the Rothschilds invented risk capital two centuries ago. The elixir of entrepreneurship, technology, and investors' willingness to risk money is starting to take hold. Some of the signs are tangible: a 28% rise since 1997 in the number of Germans who own stocks. A fourfold rise in the Neuer Markt, Frankfurt's answer to Nasdaq, since the end of 1997. Initial public offerings by software, biotech, or Internet companies practically every day.

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