One of my favorite economic philosophers is Ronald Coase. His paper "The Nature of the Firm" is a classic. In it, Coase asked the question: if markets are extremely efficient (as maintained by many), why isn't everything built/done using contract labor?
The reason he found is that when trying to get something complex done, market prices don't capture many of the costs involved.
For example: It costs money/time to find the right people, to negotiate for their labor, to find/acquire the right investors, to establish the right processes, to set up the organizational control systems, etc In short, because it's expensive to do this, entrepreneurs typically create a company so that they only have to go through this process once.
Is this still true today?
In many cases, it isn't. A combination of networks, communities, software, and much more makes it possible to drive many of these costs towards zero. Here's some crowdsourcing elements we've already seen (not even counting the impact of software enabled self help, training, and matching):
- Behavioral controls (via reputation that mitigates bad behavior) (eBay)
- Finance (Kickstarter)
- Sales (from Groupon to Amazon's affiliates)
- Content production (Associated Content).
The list goes on and on.
This innovation leads to the question: is it possible to build ventures that can get complex things done that don't involve forming a traditional company?
There is a way to form a open source venture that anyone can join, that polices itself, that funds itself, etc. and rewards it participants fairly. Further, as we move down the learning curve on how to do this, these ventures will likely easily outcompete all traditionally organized firms in many areas.
All it takes is a desire to build them.
NOTE: This approach uses strategic judo. Most attempts at new currency or economic platforms are typically launched as defensive strategies. They focus on bootstrapping activity in depressed communities/regions/industries. This is an offensive strategy aimed at reworking a very lucrative segment (Internet ventures) of the current economy. Working from wealth backwards. Turning a strength of the old economic platform into a strength of the new.