Economic Systems Innovation Theme

As many nations around the world reach the end of the processes of industrialization and become integrated into a new form of global information and services economy, profound transformations in how our economies work are today well underway.

Traditional patterns of work, production, and consumption that have shaped our economies for many decades – even centuries – are today becoming eroded, as a new kind of high tech information services economy is emerging – even becoming dominant in certain respects. The once well-established assumptions of standard economic theory are now under question along many dimensions. It is now apparent that the twin forces of globalization and the rise of information technology will continue to be profoundly disruptive as an ongoing process of rapid creative destruction unfolds.

On the one hand, this change process is deeply destructive to the traditional national economy; loss of middle-class livelihood and jobs, growing inequalities, off shaw tax havens, global financial instability, the rise of powerful online platforms. Globalization has created opportunities for billions as a truly global middle class is forming, grow by another billion inside the next decade and potentially to 5 billion before 2030, but our existing linear economic model operating at such a scale would be hugely destructive to the environment that it depends upon. The list of transformations taking place that we don’t have answers to seem to be growing as the leeks in our traditional economic model are becoming apparent everywhere. New systems of economic and financial organization are much needed

Distributed Economies

Opportunities for building new forms of economic organization though are equally abound. What is needed are economic and financial systems that push outwards instead of in words. Instead of wealth creation always concentrating inwards and upwards, we need systems that push outwards to integrate the many in productive and synergistic ways.

Such new forms of economies are already emerging, they come under the name of alternative economies, distributed economies or token economies. Powered by a new set of web technologies – web 3.0 – they run on a very different set of principles; it is about networks and decentralization, about service ecosystems all recorded through digital token registered on blockchains. Without centralized control, such secure distributed networks hold out the potential to usher in a new infrastructure that is much better suited to supporting a global information and services economy. But the formation of this new distributed economy is yet in its infancy, it will require new ways of thinking that hinge around complexity theory and networks, new economic models that can be found in complexity economics and the building out of the next era of web technologies.