Economics of recession in a liquid world: social media insights to recover?

by Laurent François

David Brooks in NY Times wrote a brilliant article that links the current recession to some social media practices:

“In this new body of thought, you get a very different picture of human nature. Reason is not like a rider atop a horse. Instead, each person’s mind contains a panoply of instincts, strategies, intuitions, emotions, memories and habits, which vie for supremacy. An irregular, idiosyncratic and largely unconscious process determines which of these internal players gets to control behavior at any instant. Context — which stimulus triggers which response — matters a lot (…) But an economy is a society of trust and faith (…) The economic spirit of a people cannot be manipulated in as simple-minded a fashion as the Keynesian mechanists imagine. Right now political and economic confidence levels are running in opposite directions. Politically, we’re in a season of optimism, but despite a trillion spent and a trillion more about to be, the economic spirit cowers. Mechanistic thinkers on the right and left pose as rigorous empiricists. But empiricism built on an inaccurate view of human nature is just a prison.”

  • consecration of the liquid modernity: the citizens/consumers have less and less time to chose, priorize and solve problems. The human minds found an exciting “trick” online through social media: going faster, identifying hubs of trust that allow them to allocate a more efficient time to solve daily issues. Peer to peer recommendations, access to the right data, shared knowledge…
  • God is no longer ideological but pragmatic: efficiency is at stake only. Trust is no longer a physical attachment to a recognized institution, but more a dynamic pool made of several influences, confirmed (or not) thanks to citizens’ experiences. This trust that is now shared is the new money. Conversations must be regrouped, not following existing thoughts but categorized through “real” concerns, interests. We’re close to this reputational democracy idea
  • The Wisdom of Crowds: it’s all about basing actions on the people, who are the real economic unities, and on all the things they are and do: skills, intuitions, ideas, contradictions. I believe that a form of control must appear, not at the vertical but at the horizontal level, with the help of new elected bodies

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