A New Kind of Economy is Born – Social Decision-Makers Beat the "Homo Economicus"


A new paper by Dirk Helbing: “The Internet and Social Media change our way of decision-making. We are no longer the independent decision makers we used to be. Instead, we have become networked minds, social decision-makers, more than ever before. This has several fundamental implications. First of all, our economic theories must change, and second, our economic institutions must be adapted to support the social decision-maker, the “homo socialis”, rather than tailored to the perfect egoist, known as “homo economicus”….
Such developments will eventually create a participatory market society. “Prosumers”, i.e. co-producing consumers, the new “makers” movement, and the sharing economy are some examples illustrating this. Just think of the success of Wikipedia, Open Streetmap or Github. Open Streetmap now provides the most up-to-date maps of the world, thanks to more than 1 million volunteers.
This is just the beginning of a new era, where production and public engagement will more and more happen in a bottom up way through fluid “projects”, where people can contribute as a leaders (“entrepreneurs”) or participants. A new intellectual framework is emerging, and a creative and participatory era is ahead.
The paradigm shift towards participatory bottom-up self-regulation may be bigger than the paradigm shift from a geocentric to a heliocentric worldview. If we build the right institutions for the information society of the 21st century, we will finally be able to mitigate some very old problems of humanity. “Tragedies of the commons” are just one of them. After so many centuries, they are still plaguing us, but this needn’t be.”

2 Replies to “A New Kind of Economy is Born – Social Decision-Makers Beat the "Homo Economicus"”

  1. I beg to differ. I think there has been a 20th Century / New World myth of independence. Humans are tribal. We have always been tribal. Digital technology blurs the lines of our tribes and makes collective decisions more porous.

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