“Faced with a systemic crisis of the mainstream economy, there is an abundance of initiatives, but a systemic crisis can only be solved by equally systemic alternatives. How to fit them together in a fundamental transformative change, and which elements need to be combined to obtain vital synergies – this is the crucial aspect addressed in this important book.” » Michel Bauwens – Expert in Peer to Peer and Commons economy and Founder of The P2P Foundation

Emmanuel Mossay, the co-author of Shifting Economy, has written the following introductory text specially for the P2PF blog. It is followed by the book’s Preface, written by Mark Eyskens. You can download the book in PDF through this link: Shifting Economy

What is Shifting Economy?

Shifting Economy is a road book to start a new business, or redesign existing business, with the nature & human beings at the heart of the business models.

You will discover an alternative ocean to the blue and the red one. The green ocean is based on the cooperation.

Follow the 20 models & methodologies to become a “commoner”. These tools will show you some ways to:

  • understand the cultural shifts of the new economy
  • link macro future trends with your projects
  • draw the sustainability journey for your organization
  • define new business models
  • build agile alliances with citizens, public and private stakeholders with 7 levels of shared values co-creation
  • get ready for the arrival of AI and robots
  • fine-tune the “speed” of your actions according to the complexity of your company
  • learn how become bilingual old/new economy
  • discover the growing industries
  • find the money to convert expenses into sustainable investments

Please download, use, share, comment Shifting Economy.

Preface, by Mark Eyskens

Homo sapiens is now evolving into post economy. The New Economy must manage scarcity and affluence, a dual problem that is not integrated into the main classical economic theories. There will be an important shock between opulence, described by the economist John Kenneth Galbraith in The Affluent Society, and scarcity on planet Earth. The only planet we have. There is no planet B.

The West grew strongly particularly at the beginning of industrialization, thanks to dualism, an old paradigm stemming from Plato. This logic of contradictions, was very useful because it forced the Westerners to make choices between “either/or”, between alternatives, between right or wrong in order to progress and to act. The steam engine is a good example, invented three centuries earlier in China as a piece of entertainment, but installed only in the eighteenth century at the heart of the industry in Europe by Westerners. Platonic dualism is at the core of creativity but was and still is at the origin of many conflicts and even wars which ranked the 20th century as the bloodiest of the human history.

Asian wisdom however teaches us another different basic paradigm: the Yin and Yang principle: the complementarity of dual oppositions which merge into a synthesis. In Chinese writing moreover, there is a single ideogram for the words « crisis » and « opportunity ».

This concept matches perfectly with the discovery of quantum physics that light is both a wave and a beam of particles, the photons. Niels Bohr, one of the founding fathers of quantum physics, summarized this insight by the Latin phrase “Contraria complementa sunt”, replacing the old “either/or” logic by the revolutionary “and/and” principle, that frees the way to cooperative solutions.

This awareness is progressively rising in Western thinking and will have far reaching consequences. It will lead us to a new holistic approach, exploring the hidden energies of diversity, divergence, oppositions and promoting synthesis and all kinds of creative compromises, in a world of interdependence, where national governments are too small for the big problems and too big for the small ones. Economic praxis has already adopted what is coined as: « Coopetition », when competition and cooperation are no longer exclusive along Darwinian principles but complementary, even inclusive according to quantum mechanical rules.

The rising of this inclusive, global approach is a challenge for political and economic leaders facing local populism emerging from fears and misunderstanding of what is going on in the global world of today and the world village of tomorrow. The nationalistic definition of “people” has become obsolete. The “people” has become a “population” with multicultural features in most countries. Nationalism and populism are perfectly understandable but they have become counterproductive because no longer future oriented. Protectionism is the economic and cultural translation of nationalism. To a certain extent protectionism existed already before economics and politics, even before human beings: the first membranes protecting living cells, stressed in our bodies. This selfish vitalism is still attractive but suicidal in a changed world as soon as ego nationalists propose to build walls instead of bridges.

In times of growing complexity democracy is caught between web and spider. Some citizens are saying “We have a vote, but we do not have a voice”. This is a serious warning addressed to politicians. Societal problems are extremely complex and the decision making process is most opaque. Governments, authorities “they” decide, they rule, they legislate, they impose…

There is a far reaching “they-ification” of politics, which makes governing impersonal, abstract and looking like a non figurative painting. We need to reinvent democracy by introducing elements of participative decision making, by informing and explaining and replacing demagogues by pedagogues. Most important is to modify the democratic voting systems. One model could be the promoting of «point voting», an electoral system by which each voter would get a plural number of votes, for instance ten votes, which he could freely cast and spread over different parties and candidates according to the intensity of his preferences. This would lead to a fine tuning of the voters choices. Also at the micro-economic level of enterprises and companies democratic cooperation between all stakeholders, transcending their exclusive interests, is at stake in the post economic era. Still more Herculean is the task of organizing steadily ways and means of international, possibly worldwide economic and political government.

On a much larger scale the European institutions also suffer of several functional problems and have to cope with great challenges. A European Fiscal Community should be created according to the principle “no representation without taxation.” Today the EU Parliament has no taxation power, so it is difficult to implement new strategies and new legislation. We need also to simplify and clarify the taxation systems. Budgetary expenses with respect to defence, security, energy, development policy, integration of immigrants, research, digital communication… should be Europeanized. A strong European public budget is needed. The EU Institutions budget equals 1% versus 27% in the USA for the federal expenses.

The Euro-zone, in order to cope with distortions of competition among member states, has to impose severe measures of austerity implying the reduction of public spending, of wages, of all kinds of allowances. The management of exchange rates by individual countries is no longer possible inside a monetary zone. Austerity measures being considered as an “internal devaluation” make the European Union unpopular and may lead to economic deflation. Only an efficient budgetary policy conducted by the EU could stabilize the Euro-zone.

Europe should unite in front of the ongoing scientific and technological revolutions.

History of mankind has indeed been steered by discoveries and scientific innovations, starting with the discovery of fire, 300.000 year ago.

Today scientific inventions are overwhelming in all domains. The acronym B.I.N.C. is useful in summarizing the ongoing scientific revolutions:

  • Biogenetics, fabulous progress of medicine, average life span of 100, 150, 200 years??
  • Information technology (computer apps, AI, virtual reality and physical robots, 3-D printing). Emergence of the “robo sapiens”.
  • Nanotechnology. Tomorrow, we will be able to speak to every citizen on earth in our own language, and understand all the worlds’ languages thanks to nano computers (wireless or implanted in our own body).
  • Cognitive science, human brain research and manipulation. The socio-economic consequences of the tsunami of scientific and technological innovations will be overwhelming and dramatic for the world community and the members of mankind.

Digitalization and robotization will considerably reduce working time, wage earners will be replaced by independent employees, the existence of world markets will go hand in hand with home work, multinationals will compete but also cooperate in lot of domains, intellectual property will no longer be protected, interconnectivity will eliminate all kind of intermediaries on the markets, e-commerce will take over from shopping. AIRBNB, Uberisation, circular economy, pooling, personal manufacturing, on line open courses, worldwide universities will spread, cash payments will disappear.

The development of solar and nuclear fusion energy will completely change the worldwide economic and political power balance. Wealth will be transformed in welfare and the pursuit of happiness will become a societal goal. A post-economic era would emerge

Nevertheless a lot of shadows of progress will have to be dealt with: demography, aging, climate, food scarcity, AMR (antimicrobial resistance), weapons of mass destruction, the difficulty to transform multiculturality in interculturality …

It goes without saying that the ongoing tsunami of scientific and technological innovations will revolutionize the world community for better and for worse. As a consequence the ultimate question will be and is already the question of ethics. How to transform all these changes into human progress? How should we manage ethics in politics, in economy, in business? And what’s the “right ethic”? Who is deciding on those values? Which are the rules applicable for everyone? Do we stick and apply to the lowest common denominator?

Buddha, Jesus Christ, Kant and other moral leaders said: “Do not do to others what you do not want done to yourself”. But is this rule sufficient to improve human life on earth?

The guideline of SHIFTING ECONOMY is the quest of purpose in economy, the quest of ethics in business – with tools that can be used on the field. It is also an invitation to all decision-makers to imagine and implement new dreams to connect human beings, and transform the grief of the planetary village into human happiness.

Mark Eyskens
Professor Emeritus Economics and former Prime Minister of Belgium

Download Shifting Economy

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