In the analysis and understanding of the Internet, the role of sociology needs to be defended: facing a widespread tendency to economization, it offers resources and references that allow to change perspectives and view practices from another angle. This difference is healthy. But let's face it: in the way it conceives the Internet, the sociological debate is itself beset with contradictions. Digital labor provides an illustrative case.
While certainly tempting, providing a simple answer to a complicated question is a straight road to failure. Ever since our alleged ancestors, Adam and Eve, were cast out of heaven, we all dream of a world where we will live a happy life, free from material contingencies. This dream is so deeply rooted that we embrace it immediately. Whether left-wing or right-wing, advocates of universal basic income generate a great deal of enthusiasm. Who wouldn't dream of eradicating poverty? Unfortunately, the path to dreams is strewn with pitfalls and overly simple or confusing reasoning gives improper advice.
Henceforth, many companies are afraid of getting uberized. Now, this danger, which has its roots in the emergence of the web twenty years ago, can be considered neither as a novelty nor a surprise. So why is the corporate world so unprepared? A simple matter of denial or an overly superficial understanding of digital technology? In any case, it has never been so urgent for the corporate world to understand what is going on. Be it only to prepare the counter-attack.
Behind the proliferation of Uber stories hitting the headlines in many countries, the emergence of a sharing economy fascinates, and sometimes worries us, especially because of its blurry boundaries. From the perspective of an economist, it can be described as a market expansion. Exchanges that previously fell within the scope of informal economy are now an integral part of formal economy. It that good news? Yes it is. But this rapid and incomplete transition also raises many problems.
From the perspective of an economist, the sharing economy can be described as a market expansion. Among the downsides, which are now well identified, competition is stronger: but is it still fair competition? And don't the marketplaces that organize this competition find themselves in a situation of monopoly?
The sharing economy has wind in its sails. Its proponents are growing in numbers and the utopian narrative disseminated by its promoters is currently in vogue. But there is another side to the coin.
Business models that emerge today outline a world of hyper-competition: in the digital economy, it's always possible to find both better and cheaper elsewhere. Now, this tendency is spreading beyond the borders of the Net. How can a company survive in this ruthless world? How can it possibly stand out from others? New trends are emerging, new value proposals that could become the cornerstone of tomorrow's economy.
Uber and Airbnb have undergone regulatory setbacks lately. But as regulators continue to crack the whip, there is little sign they will be able to stem the tide of popularity for these sharing services. Should the very idea of regulation evolve? It should not, at least, exist to protect entrenched industries and shut out competition. But companies like Uber, who have very strong Libertarian streaks, may have to make a move too. Will both sides learn to play together?
ParisTech Review has a passion for alternative and disruptive economic models, those that may shape tomorrow's economy. Here are seven articles, published between 2011 and today, presenting seven major innovative models.
Come year 2030, what will business enterprises look like? Almost every qualified answer points in the same direction, or at least provides a foreseeable trend: if as predicted instability becomes the rule and not the exception, and in a context of an entirely new ecosystem stemming from pervasive digital technologies, business enterprises will have to evolve quite considerably if they wish to remain efficient, sustainable and resilient. What factors come to bear here?
Enterprises are now able to collect all kind of real-time information about the needs of each consumer. They can provide innovative products that are neither goods nor services but something else, in between, that could be called solutions. Around these solutions we are witnessing the emergence of original business models, and more generally, of a new economy.
A growing segment of the workplace is no longer tied to a single, full-time employer. In the US, as many as 30% of those in today's job market are either self-employed or part-time, and the largest companies report that 30% of their procurement dollars are spent on contingent or fractional workers. While raising concerns, the forces reshaping the nature of work can result in more productive, happier, and sustainable lives.
Planned obsolescence has an infamous reputation: some denounce a crime against the environment, others, a swindle. A careful examination, however, shows that this business model is not all bad - and it even came to perform, during the Great Depression, as a miracle cure against the crisis!
Economists, as well as companies, increasingly care about the ecologic crisis. Various approaches are emerging that all strive to reduce the environmental impacts of the production and consumption of manufactured goods. Among them, functional economy belongs to the powerful trend of servitization of products. It triggers three dramatic mutations, regarding value estimation, ownership and the relation to time.
The digital revolution is not only a matter of technologies. The players involved can be described as radical innovators, whose work has a direct impact on social exchanges - from friendship to trade. The shock wave is gradually spilling out of our screens and hitting the rest of the economy. The concept of multitude helps us grasp what is at stake.
The multiple interactions that underlie complex situations are poorly understood by the market approach. For economists they should represent the submerged portion of an iceberg that is much larger than it appears. Externalities are the visible manifestation of untapped potential and herald rich seams of value that have bubbled just under the firmament of human interaction since the dawn of the digital age. Make no mistake, at the level of individual enterprise as well as the wider economy, externalities will occupy a central role for the foreseeable future.