Participatory Market Society

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Dirk Helbing:

"The invention of the steam engine turned the agricultural society (with its “Economy 1.0”) into an industrial society (with the “Economy 2.0”). Later, the spreading of education enabled the service society (with the “Economy 3.0”). And now, the pervasiveness of digital technologies – such as the World Wide Web, Social Media, digital devices, artificial intelligence, robots and the Internet of Things – is driving another technological revolution, creating digital societies (with the “Economy 4.0”). For example, the sharing economy, co-producing consumers (“prosumers”), and the makers community indicate the beginning of an entirely new era, which I call the Participatory Market Society. This society is ultimately characterized by the ubiquity of information, bottom-up participation, co-creation, self-organization, and collective intelligence as organizational principles, furthermore, by user-centricity and -control, personalized products, and hyper-variety markets. Furthermore, many people will engage in “projects,” empowered by social collaboration platforms." (

More Information

  • Article: Economics 2.0: The Natural Step towards A Self-Regulating, Participatory Market Society. Dirk Helbing.



"Despite all our great advances in science, technology and financial innovations, many soci- eties today are struggling with a financial, economic and public spending crisis, over-regulation, and mass unemployment, as well as lack of sustainability and innovation. Can we still rely on conventional economic thinking or do we need a new approach? Is our economic system under- going a fundamental transformation? Are our theories still doing a good job with just a few exceptions, or do they work only for “good weather” but not for “market storms”? Can we fix existing theories by adapting them a bit, or do we need a fundamentally different approach? These are the kind of questions that will be addressed in this paper. I argue that, as the complexity of socio-economic systems increases, networked decision- making and bottom-up self-regulation will be more and more important features. It will be explained why, besides the “homo economicus” with strictly self-regarding preferences, natural selection has also created a “homo socialis” with other-regarding preferences. While the “homo economicus” optimizes the own prospects in separation, the decisions of the “homo socialis” are self-determined, but interconnected, a fact that may be characterized by the term “net- worked minds”. Notably, the “homo socialis” manages to earn higher payoffs than the “homo economicus”. I show that the “homo economicus” and the “homo socialis” imply a different kind of dynamics and distinct aggregate outcomes. Therefore, next to the traditional economics for the “homo economicus” (“economics 1.0”), a complementary theory must be developed for the “homo socialis”. This economic theory might be called “economics 2.0” or “socionomics”. The names are justified, because the Web 2.0 is currently promoting a transition to a new market organization, which benefits from social media platforms and could be characterized as “participatory market society”. To thrive, the “homo socialis” requires suitable institutional settings such a particular kinds of reputation systems, which will be sketched in this paper. I also propose a new kind of money, so-called “qualified money”, which may overcome some of the problems of our current financial system. In summary, I discuss the economic literature from a new perspective and argue that this offers the basis for a different theoretical framework. This opens the door for a new economic thinking and a novel research field, which focuses on the effects, implications, and institutional requirements for global-scale network interactions and highly interdependent decisions."