The Library as an Economic Model in the Second Machine Age
January 23, 2014 5:32 AM Subscribe
Congress takes a casual look at the peer-to-peer economy
posted by kliuless (23 comments total)
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- “Finding new ways to monetise used or existing
assets has the obvious and immediate effects of raising their value and the wealth of their owners, while simultaneously reducing the value of comparable stuff
owned by incumbent companies — for whom monetisation already wasn’t a problem, and who find themselves burdened by the newly competitive environment. The innovations also provide a surplus to those consumers who previously would have paid more to an incumbent. And all without any new stuff
actually having to be made.”
cf. Peer-to-Peer Businesses and the Sharing (Collaborative) Economy: Overview, Economic Effects and Regulatory Issues
- The consumerization of digital technologies: In the 1980’s and 1990’s, innovation in digital technologies was driven by the needs of business and government; the needs of consumers were generally an afterthought, met by adapting technologies developed primarily for businesses into consumer products. However, over the last ten to fifteen years, we have witnessed the “consumerization” of information technologies, whereby radical innovation is driven by the needs of consumers rather than of businesses or government. (Social media and mobile technologies provide two recent examples.) This trend is pertinent because it is often the mass-market placing of the capabilities of these new digital technologies (powerful mobile computers, GPS technology) in the hands of millions of consumers that creates the possibility of digitally intermediated peer-to-peer business. It has also led to a growing familiarity: with the idea of platform-enabled peer-to-peer exchange (initially of digital content) among consumers, as well as a greater level of acceptance of the idea of renting rather than ownership as a primary form of consumption (again, initially in markets for digital content).
- The emergence of “digital institutions”: As a growing fraction of human interaction and exchange is mediated by digital technologies, we have witnessed the emergence of a number of different kinds of “digital institutions”: digital technology-based platforms that facilitate economic exchange in the same way that economic institutions historically have done. For example, over the last 15 years, a digital ‘reputation system’ (which allows buyers and sellers to provide feedback about their transactions) has enabled semi-anonymous peers on the platform eBay to trade assets with each other without being physically collocated or having to relying on traditional business infrastructure. The digital rights management technologies of platforms like Apple’s iTunes and Amazon’s Kindle are, de facto, subsuming government-mediated intellectual property laws for digital music, video and books. Today, a wide variety of other digital identity verification, reputation and credit scoring systems (which often leverage the real-world social capital that mobile device usage, Facebook, LinkedIn and other social technologies bring online) facilitate trusted economic exchange in hundreds of different peer-to-peer marketplaces.
- Urbanization and globalization: The U.S.is currently experiencing positive rates of urbanization, and there is also some evidence of a recent trend of migration to more densely populated metropolitan areas. (Worldwide, both these trends are projected to be substantially more pronounced than in the US: the UN estimates that by 2050, the global urban population will double, and about 70% of the world’s 9.3 billion people will be city dwellers.) Cities are already natural “sharing economies” – the space constraints and population density of urban living favors consumption that involves access to shared resources over asset ownership. Urban residents have shared their assets and space informally for centuries, but innovative network technologies and social tools have made co-producing, lending, trading and renting assets cheaper and easier than ever before—and therefore possible on a much larger scale.
- Ecological and resource considerations: Many ‘sharing economy’ business models facilitate more efficient use of natural and other physical resources. Over time, people’s desire to choose ‘asset-light’ forms of living that utilize fewer resources and lower their ecological footprint is likely to favor peer- cto-peer sharing. Furthermore, the global pressure to rapidly create massive new urban infrastructure may induce city planners to adopt ‘sharing economy’ approaches less reliant on physical resources and more cost-effective than traditional approaches for managing growth and urbanization.
re: the ‘consumerization of digital institutions and reputation systems’, here’s Marc Andreessen on Why Bitcoin Matters
(viz. the “Napsterization” of finance, payments and the transmission of ‘value’)
Bitcoin is the first practical solution to a longstanding problem in computer science called the Byzantine Generals Problem... the B.G.P. poses the question of how to establish trust between otherwise unrelated parties over an untrusted network like the Internet.
The practical consequence of solving this problem is that Bitcoin gives us, for the first time, a way for one Internet user to transfer a unique piece of digital property to another Internet user, such that the transfer is guaranteed to be safe and secure, everyone knows that the transfer has taken place, and nobody can challenge the legitimacy of the transfer. The consequences of this breakthrough are hard to overstate.
What kinds of digital property might be transferred in this way? Think about digital signatures, digital contracts, digital keys (to physical locks, or to online lockers), digital ownership of physical assets such as cars and houses, digital stocks and bonds ... and digital money.
All these are exchanged through a distributed network of trust that does not require or rely upon a central intermediary like a bank or broker. And all in a way where only the owner of an asset can send it, only the intended recipient can receive it, the asset can only exist in one place at a time, and everyone can validate transactions and ownership of all assets anytime they want.
oh and fwiw...
-Beyond Payments: where blockchain technology (Bitcoin protocol) is heading
-The path towards definancialisation, or not?
-The time for official e-money is NOW
so putting it all together:
- The Second Machine Age - “It’s not just that machines can now beat humans in chess or on ‘Jeopardy’. It’s that when they are combined with thousands of cheap sensors and huge databases... new capabilities and new ideas can be combined and recombined. Economic historians tell us that it took several decades for earlier breakthrough technologies, such as the steam engine or electricity, to reach the point of ubiquity and flexible application at which they fundamentally changed the way people lived and businesses operated. Information technology and digital communication, they argue, are now just reaching that same inflection point.”
- Economic revolutions: There could be trouble ahead - “What’s very important to recognise is that those benefits did not magically arrive of their own accord. It is an article of faith among many economists that technology doesn’t lead to widespread unemployment but does make society better off. Historical experience bears that out, but economists can be guilty of forgetting the caveats: it took a long time for society to adjust and an awful lot of intense political fighting to deliver the social reforms needed to make industrialisation work for most people.”
- Secular stagnation: The second best solution - “Income has become concentrated in the hands of groups, like reserve-accumulating foreign governments and the rich, with low propensities to consume, the thinking goes. That has generated excess saving and pushed down real interest rates until they are substantially negative at many durations. That, in turn, has made life very difficult for central banks, which have struggled to stoke up adequate demand with nominal interest rates wedged up against zero.”
-Marx Is Back: The global working class is starting to unite -- and that’s a good thing
-What the Founding Fathers Believed: Stock Ownership for All
-Employee share ownership: Turning workers into capitalists
-Wanted: More Worker-Owners
-The case for working less
(Workers of the world: relax