Peer Economics

David Musick (
Wed, 27 Nov 96 02:43:24 UT

Network Trading

In the future, economic transactions won't likely be fundamentally different
than they are today. People will almost certainly still have goods and
services they agree to trade with each other. However, I believe that the
average person will be engaging in much more trade than ever before, and I
believe that the marketplace will be much more fluid and dynamic than it ever
has been.

As computer networks become more widespread and powerful, it is becoming much
easier to find the right people to trade with. For example, many people are
selling their products by advertising through the Internet and by exchanging
money through the computer networks. When one wishes to purchase a particular
product, one can ask the computer to perform a search of the Internet to find
the people who are selling whatever product one is interested in. Computer
networks are excellent tools for matching up buyer and seller, and they will
become more widespread as more people recognize their value and use the
computer networks routinely. In the future, if I want to sell some product or
some service, I will announce that through the computer networks, and the
people who are interested in what I offer will be directed to me to negotiate
a trade. Likewise, if I wish to purchase something, the computer networks
will direct me to the appropriate list of people.

The widespread use of computer networks will make it much easier to be
self-employed and contract one's services and talents out to those who offer
an agreeable trade, much like a free lance artist does. It will become less
necessary to have a "steady job", where one trades with the same person day
after day, and it will become easier and more secure for someone to have
several clients that they work for and multiple streams of income, so they are
not dependent on any single source of income.

If one is interested in completing a very large and complex project, such as
building and maintaining hydroponic greenhouses, then one will want to
organize teams of people to work on this project. One could first hire a team
of engineers to plan the project and organize it into sub-projects. Then one
could hire teams and individuals to complete the various sub-projects until
the greenhouses are built and food is being grown in them. Then one would
receive requests for food and hire people to transport the food to the
appropriate places. This is not fundamentally any different than what has
been done for thousands of years now. People have been organizing companies
and groups to complete projects for quite a long time. Now it's becoming a
lot easier for the average person to do, because computer networks are helping
to lower the costs of organizing a business.

I predict that as computer networks become more widespread and their use
becomes commonplace, a very large percentage of people will be taking
advantage of this technology to make their economic lives extremely flexible,
dynamic and lucrative. I predict that it will become increasingly less common
for someone to have a "steady job". That concept seems radical now, because
there aren't so many secure alternatives for employment than working for the
same person day after day. However, I believe this will change within a few
years, and it will seem foolish and dangerous to have only one major client
that one is dependent on for income.

I believe that people will become much more "project oriented" than they are
today. I think people will look at employment more in terms of working on a
particular project than they do now. People will hire other people to
complete particular projects or tasks, and when the project is done or the
task is completed, they will each go their own way. As a project manager, you
may find someone who consistently does excellent work, and you may hire them
regularly to work on various projects, and this will probably be common. But
that same person will likely have many other clients that they work for as

I believe that in the future, one's financial situation will more accurately
reflect the quality of work one does and thus be more fair. Good workers will
develop a good reputation, and there will be a high-paying demand for them,
and they will generally only accept the highest-paying offers for their work.
Those who don't prove themselves to be such good workers will not receive such
high-paying offers for their work. Of course, they could always hire someone
to teach them how to improve their skills and become a more excellent worker,
and thus improve their financial situation.

Considering human history, it seems that people's economic lives have become
increasingly dynamic and are continuing to become even more flexible. At one
time, most people were pretty much confined to living in the same village,
doing the same tasks, all their lives. As we've progressed and developed
large cities, it has become much easier for people to relocate and to change
employers. Our lives have become much more flexible and filled with more
options. I believe that the widespread use of computer networks will create
even greater flexibility in people's lives and allow people many more options
for organizing their lives, including greater flexibility of who they work
for. Technology is providing people the tools they need to take care of
themselves better and manage their own lives.

- David Musick

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