The Next Economy, continued

Let’s spend some time thinking about how good the Next Economy could be without condemning the current system. Here are some ideas that could form the framework for the Next Economy:Imagine

  • The economy is an ecosystem made up of billions of participants, each making decisions based on what they perceive is best for them.
  • The very idea of “making it” has shifted from a consumer to a creative mentality. Creating choice, creating legacy, and creating connections. Creativity and collaboration become more important than consumption.
  • This creative spirit combined with new technologies make small batch customization economically competitive with large scale production for a growing number of industries.
  • Abundance simply means more than enough. Having more than enough is in many ways a mindset. Scarcity vs. abundance is mostly perception once basic needs are satisfied.
  • On demand information is a great enabler of the Next Economy. Transparency won’t eliminate deceit but it will end the scarcity of information that is a primary source of deceit. Evildoers will still try to use deceit but reliable information and good critical thinking skills make it harder to “pull one over” on people with good intentions.
  • New organizations help us define how we fit together. The legal structures for are evolving rapidly.
    • Business Coops – These are worker and customer-owned businesses. Credit Unions are the most visible example. Other businesses organized into cooperatives range from grocery stores to insurance companies.
    • Workspace coops – these businesses serve as incubators to nurture startups. They provide services and support that the newly minted companies cannot afford yet. They also facilitate ventures when they are “right-sized” at one or two people.
    • Consensus simply means agreement. Machines need controllers. Living things need cooperative forms of organization.
    • Roles and responsibilities must evolve in the Next Economy. The old way focused on extreme specialization of labor. People with “mash up” skills are highly valued in the NE.
  • The change to life cycles and right sizing. The goals of coops are to satisfy needs, not to grow. That means they reach a point where they are the correct size for the markets they serve. Improvement can then focus on better serving customers and consuming fewer resources. Publicly traded companies need growth to get the attention of investors. Planned obsolescence is one of the tactics used to create demand.
  • Everyone must take responsibility for themselves – possibly to the extreme – in the NE. People are recognizing that the “social safety nets” function more as traps than protection. Mechanisms for ducking responsibility should be stopped. The permaculture movement is empowering consumers to own food production.
  • The accounting systems must be expanded past the narrow definition of profit. Ideas like success and wealth will change in the process.
    • Price and value are not the same thing
    • EROEI – energy return on energy invested means that a source of energy must actually generate more power than it “costs” to exploit that resource.
    • Triple bottom line – The effects on People and Planet are considered in the process of generating profit.

Does the idea of thriving instead of succeeding excite you?

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