An economy that displays frenzied growth or activity in one sector while showing only steady growth or activity in other sectors.
Many children of the boom often romanticize the early days of Silicon Valley as a period of pure, nonentrepreneurial geekdom. But it might be time for Mr. Arrington and those who agree with him to embrace the effervescent nature of Silicon Valley, a place that Paul Saffo, a technology consultant who saw the rise of the P.C., is inclined to describe as a 'cappuccino economy.'
'We always have lots of little bubbles in Silicon Valley,' Mr. Saffo said. 'It's like the froth on cappuccino. A little froth is a very good thing. A lot of froth, especially if you mix in a lot of inexperienced people, that's a bad thing.'
—Gary Rivlin, "In Silicon Valley, the Crash Seems Like Just Yesterday," The New York Times, June 3, 2007
Since the late 1990s the only movement in interest rates has been downwards as Ireland went through the adjustment necessary for euro membership. The phenomenon created blissful financial conditions for borrowers but caused indigestion among central bankers who feared access to cheap money was creating a "cappuccino economy", strong at the base but frothy on the top.
—"Soften the debt blow," Sunday Times, August 6, 2006
Marks & Spencer says retailing is flat but the same day someone pays £9 million for three London restaurants — a sure sign of a late bull market. It shows that the service sector boom rolls on. Cabs are scarce, restaurants booked out, theatres full. It is a cappuccino economy — froth on top and pretty indifferent underneath
—Anthony Hilton, "The unhappy inevitability of a hard landing," The Evening Standard, May 22, 1998