Networked Economies

Pattern number within this pattern set: 
Richard Lowenberg
Davis Community Network

The ‘new economy’, ‘digital economy’ and other such current catch phrases are rooted in deep misunderstandings and existing capitalist vested interests in business as usual. We know very little about the way the world works and our place in it, yet we know more than our current economic regimes of social control and valuation allow for.


In this age, increasingly shaped by communications and technology, humanity is becoming acutely sensitive to its frail security. The rationalism of science continues to accelerate the conflict between global mind and local body. Energy and information are now our major exchangeable natural resources. They constitute the primary components of the value system in a newly emerging economic structure.
There is no denying the miraculous evolutionary history of our belief systems, but our current political economies, fictions of ideology, have become an unmanageable misunderstanding of life, sustaining resources and values. Capitalism, Communism, Socialism, etc. are political contrivances; catch-phrases that deny a comprehensive knowledge of the value of human life and work in a complex and dynamic universe. They are, more directly, sophisticated systems for social control. Intellectual impositions on society-as-system, they do not adequately account for turbulence, random effects or failure. These systems are, in fact, the antithesis of true freedom and democracy; social concepts and goals that ought to carry a profound responsibility for us to be more creatively intelligent and humane.
Society is experiencing accelerated, consumer-driven, post-industrial, technological communications development. Often labeled the Information Revolution, this ongoing process has been largely supported by a military-industrial power base, and driven by a selfishly motivated , catch-up minded technocratic elite. Though not an overt conspiracy, the results of this evolutionary tragedy-of-errors is that increasing populations of people around the world are confused and frightened by newly emerging tensions, class differences and imposed controls, while being torn from their historic sense of culture, and knowledge of place.
The economic and societal threats of


Today, urban and rural communities are being swept up in a socio-economic transformation that is affecting the whole world. The often espoused linear progression of economic waves, from agricultural, to industrial, to information-based, is too simplistic to be an accurate assessment of human evolution. One system does not in fact, replace another. If our fundamental motivations and desires are for a healthier, more intelligent and sustainable society, then we must invest with an appropriately reconsidered understanding of economic valuation.
Agriculture is not going away; it is evolving. Industry is not going away; it is being transformed. Information is not replacing these previous cornerstones of our socio-economic foundation. It is, like water flooding our fields and turning our wheels, flowing through all aspects of society, irrigating our minds and fueling social processes, making six billion (and more) flowers bloom. Might the resulting harvest nurture and sustain us?
All aspects of our economic systems must be considered as derived from an ecologically holistic solar economy. The agricultural, the industrial, and the new information economies are incomplete systems unless incorporating the nature of value inherent in the over-arching Sun-Earth relationship. Continuing to deny this is counter-intelligent and counter-productive, and further supports the description of economics as "the dismal science". To better understand and implement a solar economy, is to be on the path toward ecological enlightenment.
The "new economy" is not the "digital economy". It is the recognition and internetworking of many diverse and interdependent economies. The "digital economy" is a vitally restructuring part of a "new economy". The digital internetworking of economic flows and exchanges is going to permeate much of the way the world works and how human societies distribute resources, assign value and acknowledge the complex ecological balance between competition and cooperation. Properly considered, ecological economics takes full account of value: use value, exchange value, and inherent value.


If the "new economy" is in fact, moving towards recognition of knowledge as a newly valued economic resource and social objective, then the unique qualities of our very humanity require us to acknowledge the symbiotic relationships between matter, energy and information, as the foundation for the reorganization of our local-global economic systems.
Without a major change in our understanding and implementation of ecological and economic systems, the best intentioned efforts to build a sustainable society and communities cannot succeed.

(This pattern proposes a pattern panel discussion and/or open space workshop.)

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