In the pretty Sussex town of Lewes, 10 miles inland from the southern English coast, an interesting experiment is taking place. The hometown of 18th-century reformer Thomas Paine is living up to his tradition of social radicalism by introducing its own currency.
Coupons. Gift cards. Loyalty points. These tried-and-true tools of the retail trade might not be as sexy as other forms of marketing. But together they account for more than $165 billion in purchasing power.
Should governments accept the dictates of markets? It's the question raging across the econoverse in the wake of demands for austerity from bondholders. But it's the wrong question. The right question is: are organizations and markets making decisions that help make people, communities, and society better off in the long run, by allocating their scarce resources to the most productive uses? The correct role of governance is to shape the decisions of markets, by breathing life into social preferences and expectations. Here's what I mean by that. Once upon a time, markets "wanted" indentured servitude, debtors prisons, and child labor. But those decisions were unacceptable to society, and so governments took on the challenge of shaping them, reforming markets by preventing them from choosing those options.
Two events of recent days underscore for me how old-media executives are not comprehending the collaboration economy: how it adds value, how it creates efficiency, how it operates under new currencies. Add this to the other blind spots these old media powers have about the new economic reality: the imperatives of the link economy, the need and benefit of giving up control, the advantages of creating open platforms over closed systems, the value of networks, the post-scarcity economy and the art of exploiting abundance, the need to be searchable to be found, the deflation innovation brings, the value of free, the triumph of process over product…. This is what I wrote in my book about. Trying to get media to understand it is why I wrote it. Behind each of these new laws of the new age is a set of consequences that result if you don’t at least try to understand them and continue to operate under the expired rules of the industrial economy.