A knowledge-based, or 'new', economy is now regarded as a universal remedy for ensuring effective development and increasing welfare levels. A knowledge-based economy focuses on human knowledge, creativity and the ability to realise these ideas in production processes, in other words, on human capital. The objective of the article is to highlight the genesis of a knowledge-based economy in the history of developed countries and to define the spheres that are considered the main driving forces in these 'new economy' countries. The article presents an analysis of the distinctive features of modern economic cycles, the impact of housing and food price increases on consumer prices and on country development, as well as growth trends in global financial markets in the first half of 2007. The authoress concludes that in terms of general growth, the impact of knowledge-based products and services cannot be denied; however there is no reason for regarding products with high added value as the sole development guarantee of all global members. The 'new' economy just supplements the 'old' one - this trend in the global economy has lasted for centuries; historically, innovative ideas are extremely rare - usually products are merely improved, not created completely anew.