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11/12/2015

Jennings, "Atoms, Bits, and Wits: A New Economics for the Twenty-First Century—Part I"

ForumThree elementary components of economics are atoms, bits, and wits. The economics of atoms is familiar to economists, in the production of physical outputs treated as substitutes in consumption. The relation of value to scarcity with atoms is that abundance reduces the worth of material goods. The realm of bits is less understood; the issues appear in network effects, where abundance augments the worth of intangibles. The economics of networks is social: conflicts of interest (substitution) are balanced with concerts of value (complementarity) in combination. But in information networks—the realm of bits—substitution cedes to complementarity and competition defers to cooperation as efficient.

Frederick Beach Jennings, Jr., "Atoms, Bits, and Wits: A New Economics for the Twenty-First Century—Part I," Forum for Social Economics, 44/3 (2015), pp. 213-233.

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