The challenge of co-intelligent economy

In his comment on the entry about Is self-awareness a requirement for CI?, Tom Atlee called our attention to something that’s a truly foundational condition of boosting the CI of large social systems.
His perspective is also essential to further the inquiry into the concept of evolutionary threshold that we opened last month with the entry on How would we know, we reached tipping point? (After reading Tom’s passionate call below, you may want to loop back to the “tipping point” entry to get a sense of yet another context in this network of CI conversations, to which his idea is highly pertinent.) Tom Atlee wrote:
I’d like to see greater understanding, application, and nurturance of ALL dimensions and types of collective intelligence — even such mundane factors as designing economic measures of success such that the self-organizing market dynamics that get motivated by those measures (and the rewards associated with them) automatically generate outcomes that serve the quality of life of all who live within that economic system.
Whose intelligence is expressed by the “self-organizing market dynamics” that Tom refers to?

Is it of the “invisible hand,” the metaphor that Adam Smith, the apostle of “unbridled market forces” used to describe how self-interest is sufficient to guide the most efficient use of resources in a nation’s economy? Or is it the CI of the “visible hands”?
The CI of the invisible hand left many millions of people unhappy about its results, both in the rich countries, and even more so in the poor ones. There are many “visible hands” initiatives but the evolution of their CI is strongly limited by the fact that they are fragmented, lacking an integral context, and under-resourced.
Where to look for a solution?
Markets that would “automatically generate outcomes that serve the quality of life of all who live within that economic system” will have to be designed. Designing that kind of markets means designing for emergence by self-organization.
Who has experience in designing a co-intelligent economy based on markets capable to “generate outcomes that serve the quality of life of all who live within that economic system” ? Nobody that I know, but there are many streams of work that are highly relevant, including:

  • Don Beck’s Spiral Dynamics Integral
  • Etienne Wenger’s “Learning for a small planet” his framework on social learning systems and the connection between knowledge, community, learning, and identity.
  • Pierre Lévy’s 6-pole “internal flow” model of CI
  • Shann Turnbull’s “Design Criteria for a Global Brain” in which he identified key lessons to learn from Mondragon, “a network of stakeholder-controlled enterprises located around the town of Mondragon in Northern Spain.  A World Bank study found that these firms were more efficient than investor owned firms.  Like mutual enterprises the stakeholder firms do not require equity investors to bring them into existence or to make them efficient.  Over 80% of investor owned firms typically fail in their first five years compared with less than 1% of the Mondragon firms.” Source:A New Way to Govern: Organisations and society after Enron.
  • The “local currencies” movement, and many others.

What is needed at this time is the shared attention of the whole CI field, and particularly its thought leaders, to the challenges and enablers of the emergence of co-intelligent markets. That emergence will be a metasystems transition, a significant shift from the market system we inherited from the last centuries to markets that are aligned with the requirements of today and tomorrow, a true “transcend-and-include.”
It’s a huge task that only seems impossible until we come together to address it by using the spiral wizardry developed by Don Beck, the enlightened communications spearheaded by Andrew Cohen, the social learning theory suggested by Etienne Wenger, the chaordic design of Dee Hock, the WorldCafé, and everything else that we know as potent CI-booster.
What I love the most about Tom’s question is that it can be successfully answered only by the whole field of CI moving to a higher level of differentiation and integration through increasing cross-disciplinary conversations and coherence. May this blog become a useful instrument of the move to that level.

This entry was posted in Co-intelligent Economy, Evolutionary Threshold. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to The challenge of co-intelligent economy

  1. > Who has experience in designing a co-intelligent economy based on markets capable to “generate outcomes that serve the quality of life of all who live within that economic system” ?
    Hi George, we’ve been working on this for a few years now and have 25 demos up and running, in which you can see how TeleCommunity members create knowledge and other culture products that enrich their own lives, and which they can trade with others in flexible ways to support quality lifestyles and livelihoods:


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