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Economics as a model

Given the lack of an authority to govern a decentralized network, the use of supply and demand to provide governing principles often comes up. There is little agreement over what supply and demand mean, though. Does this mean micropayments should accompany all transactions? That reputation points should be kept and exchanged, but no actual currency should change hands? That Napster users would pay a la carte to download files? The situation is made even less clear by the weird patterns of scarcity in a digital environment: that the costs of copying tend towards zero, and that giving something away rarely entails losing value on the part of the giver.

What little consensus there is is loosely that, if free riding or other behavior with real social costs is a problem then economic models make sense; and that economic models for understanding and analyzing the current system are closely related to biological models as complex systems with evolution-like patterns. It strains credibility to believe that economics don't apply to decentralized networks at least as much, if not more, as any other system.

MojoNation is developing a broker-oriented system around market economics, and the agent community, those interested in agoric systems, Global Brain partisans and many others are trying to make this work.

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