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Joi Ito: The Practice of Change

I strongly recommend reading and commenting Joi Ito’s The Practice of Change. How I survived being interested in everything.

Joi starts with an Abstract: “Over the last century civilization has systematically supported a market- based approach to developing technical, financial, social and legal tools that focus on efficiency, growth and productivity. In this manner we have achieved considerable progress on some of the most pressing humanitarian challenges, such as eradicating infectious diseases and making life easier and more convenient. However, we have often put our tools and methods to use with little regard to their systemic or long-term effects, and have thereby created a set of new, interconnected, and more complex problems. Our new problems require new approaches: new understanding, solution design and intervention. Yet we continue to try to solve these new problems with the same tools that caused them.” Then the question is: “How can we understand and effectively intervene in interconnected complex adaptive systems?”.

Joi gives three contributions to addressing the matter:
“1. A post-Internet framework for understanding and intervening in complex adaptive systems.
2. Learnings from the creation and management of post-Internet organizations that can be applied to designing and deploying interventions.
3. How and why we must change the values of society from one based on the measurement of financial value to flourishing and robustness.”

In this post I’m not going to discuss all the aspects of Joi’s dissertation. I just want to stress two points and come back later to the matter in a set of different posts.

The two points are about the financial market as a knowledge management system. The market has been used as a tool to measure what’s true, good and beautiful in economics. But the way we measure in the market is not able to create an ecology of decisions. It is just too linear to do so. Maybe that’s because it’s only based on one final judgment: profit in the short term. Why did we let this happen? It has happened because the market has been taken over by capitalism (I use those two terms – market and capitalism – as Fernand Braudel did in his history of the economy). We are slowly changing the paradigm from the financial-linear to the ecological-complex approach. And we need to go faster in this process. Imho.

I’ll come back with more in some a next post.


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Luca De Biase

Knowledge and happiness economy Media and information ecology


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