We failed to mention a flurry of debate around Abundance economics, which started after a lecture by Chris Anderson of the Long Tail fame.
Ethan Zuckermann reports on the lecture here and his summary is worth reading in full.
It mentions the conclusion of Chris on what changes when abundance becomes the rule:
– In the past, we built business cases based on ROI. Now we build it and build the business afterwards.
– In the past, “everything is forbidden unless it’s permitted.” Now everything is permitted unless forbidden.
– Scarcity is about paternalism, a decision that an editor knows what’s best. Abundance is about egalitarianism.
– Scarcity is top-down, abundance is bottom-up. Instead of command and control, it’s out of control.
In the original blog entry on this topic by Chris Anderson himself, he cites David Hornik, a venture capitalist:
"The basic idea is that incredible advances in technology have driven the cost of things like transistors, storage, bandwidth, to zero. And when the elements that make up a business are sufficiently abundant as to approach free, companies appropriately should view their businesses differently than when resources were scarce (the Economy of Scarcity). They should use those resources with abandon, without concern for waste. That is the overriding attitude of the Economy of Abundance — don’t do one thing, do it all; don’t sell one piece of content, sell it all; don’t store one piece of data, store it all. The Economy of Abundance is about doing everything and throwing away the stuff that doesn’t work. In the Economy of Abundance you can have it all."
Ross Dawson adds some further comments.
If I may add my five cents though, I do think at this stage the debate is rather superficial, as it fails to distinguish between true scarcity and abundance, and pseudo-scarcity and pseudo-abundance. There is for example the false scarcity induced by copyright, and the fake material abundance that exists because of market distortians, which makes some physical resources look abundant, but they are only so because true costs are dumped to nature and the communities.