Re: Peer Economics

max m (
Wed, 27 Nov 1996 12:17:42 +0100

David Musick wrote:

> In the future, economic transactions won't likely be fundamentally different
> than they are today.


> As computer networks become more widespread and powerful, it is becoming much
> easier to find the right people to trade with.

No, there will be a whole lot more options to choose from. That will
lead to choosing *the usal one* because the signal to noise ratio wil
make it practically impossible to seperate good from bad products.

> 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.

It will only work for certain types of products and from retailers that
people know and trust. (would you buy The *Hi-octane* office package
from *Gazoline software* instead of office 2010 from Microsoft?)
We will still be selling goods and services to people. And people buy
from people they know. They buy brands (made by big cooperations
advertising) and they buy something because of word of mouth.

> 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.

I myself have worked that way, and your theory has some flaws. Those who
makes the most money are usually close conncted to a single company.
Those i know who are not, spend to much time trying to sell their
skills. (And most of them don't like that part of their job. They wish
they could have a sales force.)

You are right that there will no longer be technical reasons why an
individual shouldn't be able to compete with huge corporation. And it
will also happen.

If one person with a high level of skills makes a difference, then many
high skilled workers cooperating will make more of a difference. At my
current job (a media an marketing company) we are not cheap. Our
costumers know that. They also know that we are a group of talented
individuals with a strong background in as diverse areas as marketing,
video produktion, distribution.... all the things a large corporation
need to sell and comunicate their services and products. Still they use
us because we can do something that an individual cannot. (we have
redundancy in our system for one thing, making us safer.)
Instead of using us they could use individual subcontractors. But for
every two or three subcontractors they would need somebody to keep an
eye out on them. (Most people are note that talented and ned to be
supervised closely not to make bad desicions.) There will then be no net
profitt. just more FUD than if they chosed a *professional* solution.

> 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 would all take a lot of money. A person with a lot of money
wouldn't he hire e secretary to do the boring bits? Already there we are
on the way from the single man comapny.

> 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.

Large scale projects can still only be done by large groups with a lot
of money.

> I predict that it will become increasingly less common
> for someone to have a "steady job".

Probably it will be more in the direction of people working at home for
2-3 days a week. While they are still in a steady job.

> it will seem foolish and dangerous to have only one major client
> that one is dependent on for income.

But a lot easyer than looking for work all the time.

> 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
> well.

Or they will find someone else because the other guy is occupied to

> 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.

How would they pay when they have a bad income (catch 22?)

> 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.

I agree with a lot of things you are saying, but we must keep in mind
that it is only true in some situations and for some jobs.
Small companies working together on large projects would need to much
coordination and thus be inefficient. We are still humans that need to
work and comunicate with other humans. Thats the most important thing to

The new way of working probably won't be a revolution but an evolution.
People have worked together for may years now, and only a limited number
of ways seem to be efficient. Of course technology will change
something, but i don't think it will be a very radical departure.

Max M Rasmsussen