Thursday, June 16, 2011

Ronald Coase - Forethinker of Digital Disruption?

1937 Ronald Coase wrote an article "The Nature of the Firm" (the article in question is included in this conference proceedings) which I came across on my flight back with Cathay Pacific from #gathering11 a couple of days ago. I had restarted reading "The Power of Pull" by John Hagel & John Seely Brown and stumbled across Coase.

In the early part of the last century the entrepreneurial started companies such as Siemens, GM, ...  became great (and big of course) due to the fact that the density of the connectivity within the organization brought scale of efficiency with it. Can we as a society learn from what found entry in a Noble Prize in 1991? I am quite sure we can as my "economics guts"is telling me. "Economic theory has suffered in the past from a failure to state clearly its assumptions" (quoted: Ronald Coase, "The Nature of the Firm", Economica 4, no. 16 (November 1937), 386-405; see first lines on left, link to original).

Are we at a similar turning point in time when technological improvement accelerates in exponential manner once again? This time the signs are different in detail yet the patterns are pretty similar.

Yet the question may be asked, "Do we have the common economic language in use that enables a dialogue and collective action as a whole?"

Reading thoroughly Ronald Coase's paper back from 1937 will certainly open up the conversation and deeper understanding of what seems in the digital age so unpredictable and yet is just another form of economic evolution (free emergence of new species of businesses, value creating ideas) and development (putting business models into reality and sustain them).

Living in a THRIVABLE WORLD with common understanding (& wording) of what happens in the economic context will certainly move the collective body of wisdom. What is your gut feeling?

DISCLOSURE: back in 1991 while studying economics in Bamberg, Ronald Coase just got the Nobel Prize for Economics. I could not possibly think of how this episode of life would crawl back due to the fact being called in on a mission to connect in Down Under - coincidence? Maybe, maybe not ;-)
Post a Comment