4.5 Growth of the economy, but not of the GNP?


    We have seen that social capital cannot be expressed as a GNP-type number. On top of that, a collaborative prosumption economical system, as part of The Mesh, is made possible by the solidarity of people, the possibility of “monitoring” the quality and integrity of the network, the will and the capacity of people to share, and the transparency of the supply. Social media enables us to meet these conditions. Perhaps it may not be visible to everyone immediately, but some of these services are starting to grow out of proportion. Eventually, this development will render the current traditional supplier-chain model useless, and it will deny the present governments of sales and income taxes as their most important financial resource.

    During the transition phase towards Society 3.0, this sharing economy is a huge new economic activity apart from some of the more traditional processes. The sharing economy will make the total economy – however, not always the GNP – grow again. It means that money becomes less important. We see this already in the traditional financial statements of our S2M locations: their turnover is lower than in traditional meeting centers, however, the profits are much higher. Higher without even including or trying to measure the social capital being built up at the same time.

    “Airbnb, the world’s leading marketplace to list, discover and book unique, local accommodations today released a new study highlighting the Airbnb community’s positive economic impact in New York City. Conducted by HR&A Advisors, the study found that Airbnb generated $632 million in economic activity in New York in one year and supported 4,580 jobs throughout all five boroughs. The study also found that nearly 90 percent of Airbnb hosts rent out the home they live in – their primary residence – and use the money they earn to help make ends meet, while Airbnb guests spend more time and money in New York than typical tourists.”
    Airbnb press release October 2013.

    According to global business analyst Jeremiah Owyang at the US-based Crowd Companies, “every car sharing vehicle reduces car ownership by 9-13 vehicles, a revenue loss of at least $270,000 to an average auto manufacturer.”

    So, every business segment is hit by this development! And so is your government. They will miss an enormous amount of taxes, an amount which I estimate could run up to 50% of their tax-based income. Think about the consequences: what do you think will happen to the financial strength of your country’s national budget when this non-taxpaying system forms an equivalent of 50% of your GNP? The cities in your country will definitely become stronger, but your government with its politicians is in deep trouble as their income diminishes. They will lose importance. The mega-cities and its Society30 citizens will simply circumvent them.

    Owyang distinguishes 3 segments in this collaborative economy:

    – The company as a service (rent your car from the manufacturer instead of buying)
    – Motivate the marketplace (resell, co-op, swap)
    – Provide a platform (co-sell, co-market, co-fund, co-distribute)

    Jeremiah writes on his blog: “These patterns are inevitable: Startups, fueled by VCs create new efficient tools and technologies. Customers move, companies follow, and a new industry is born. Then the process repeats itself. It’s as inevitable as the tides, Sun and Moon, and rotation of the planets…”

    “People are bypassing companies by sharing goods, services, space, and money with each other in the sharing economy. They’re also empowered to build their own goods in the maker movement by crowd funding, tapping global marketplaces, and preparing to accelerate this with 3D printing. The crowd, is starting to become like a company: self-financing, self-designing products, self-manufacturing, self-selling to each other – bypassing inefficient corporations in the process.”
    Owyang on the Resilient Summit Website

    “Prosumption through collaboration” is the new theme of the collaborative- and sharing elements of the Interdependent Economy. We have to get used to the fact that in this new economic system. “value” does not always translate into an immediate return on investment that can be measured in real money. Traditional production will, under the influence of robotics and/or 3D printing, go through an enormous change as well. So, we had better get used to new balances: social capital vs. monetary systems, value vs. cost price, and ownership vs. access.

    These developments will allow us to wrestle away from the stranglehold of our current financial and production systems. This is the way out of our zombie economy!