18 July 2009

Creating one’s own economy of human well-being

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Create your own economy
Tyler Cowen (Wikipedia), a professor of economics at George Mason University, has written a thought-provoking piece for Fast Company, that is many ways highly complementary to our own KashKlash discussion on the future of value exchange.

“Online, you can literally create your own economy. By that, I mean you can build an ordered set of opportunities for prosperity and pleasure, analogous to a traditional economy but held in your head. There is no obvious monetary transaction, but you’re using your limited resources to get a better deal — the very essence of economics. In fact, “economics” comes from oikonomia, the ancient Greek word for household management, and the modern practice of economics is returning to that idea.

The traditional gauge of economic success is profit, but over time we’ll find that such statistics as measures of GDP tell us less and less about broader efforts to improve human well-being. Much of the Web’s value is experienced at the personal level and does not show up in productivity numbers.”

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Create Your Own Economy: The Path to Prosperity in a Disordered World is also the title of Cowen’s new book that came out a few days ago.

One of the most respected behavioral economists in the world and coauthor of the “best economics blog in the universe” offers an essential guide to success in a radically new hyper-networked age.

How will we live well in a super-networked, information-soaked, yet predictably irrational world? The only way to know is to understand how the way we think is changing.

As economist Tyler Cowen boldly shows in Create Your Own Economy, the way we think now is changing more rapidly than it has in a very long time. Not since the Industrial Revolution has a man-made creation—in this case, the World Wide Web—so greatly influenced the way our minds work and our human potential. Cowen argues brilliantly that we are breaking down cultural information into ever-smaller tidbits, ordering and reordering them in our minds (and our computers) to meet our own specific needs.

Create Your Own Economy explains why the coming world of Web 3.0 is good for us; why social networking sites such as Facebook are so necessary; what’s so great about “Tweeting” and texting; how education will get better; and why politics, literature, and philosophy will become richer. This is a revolutionary guide to life in the new world.

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