Dematerialization

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Dematerialization in economics[edit]

In economics, dematerialization refers to the absolute or relative reduction in the quantity of materials required to serve economic functions in society. In common terms, dematerialization means doing more with less. This concept is similar to ephemeralization as proposed by Buckminster Fuller.

Dematerialization is the counterargument to the idea that economics is only about 'more is better.' The idea that more is better, a common activist argument which likens economic logic to the logic of a cancer cell, ignores the differences between inputs and outputs, and it ignores the ratio of inputs to outputs.

Dematerialization of securities[edit]

In finance and financial law, dematerialization refers to the substitution of paper-form securities by book-entry securities. This phenomenon is ancient, since in many small firms that cannot afford printing secured paper-form securities, the securities are often held in a book-entry form, under the control of an attorney who acts as a notary to certify the existence of the securities, as well as their authenticity. Today, dematerialization concerns more and more listed companies in the US (where the process has begun in the sixties) and now in the European Union, where dematerialized securities represent often more than 99% of the securities listed on regulated markets.[1] However, this recent phenomena of dematerialization of securities issued by large firms is mostly undertaken via Central Securities Depository, a national or regional institution holding the notary function, such as the DTC in the US, which itself entrusts banks and investment firms to act as intermediaries between issuers and investors for the custody of these securities. Therefore, dematerialized securities are often referred as intermediated securities, in particular by the Unidroit convention on substantive rules for intermediated securities.

Dematerialization of the art object[edit]

In "Six Years: The Dematerialization of the Art Object" Lucy Lippard characterizes the period of 1966 to 1972 as one in which the art object was dematerialised through the new artistic practices of conceptual art.[2]

Dematerialization of a product[edit]

The dematerialization of a product literally means less, or better yet, no material is used to deliver the same level of functionality to the user. Sharing, borrowing and the organization of group services that facilitate and cater for communities needs could alleviate the requirement of ownership of many products. In his book ‘'In the Bubble: designing in a complex world'’, John Thakara states that "the average consumer power tool is used for ten minutes in its entire life - but it takes hundreds of times its own weight to manufacture such an object”. A product service system with shared tools could simply offer access to them when needed.[3] This shift from a reliance on products to services is the process of dematerialization. Digital music distribution systems, car clubs, bike hire schemes and laundry services are all examples of dematerialization.

References[edit]

  • "Dematerialization: Measures and Trends", Journal of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, Cambridge, MA, 1996
  • John Thakara (2006) In the Bubble: designing in a complex world, MIT Press Paper Back
  • Peacework.com [4]
  • Where is Atlantic Canada Heading [5]
  • "Making the Modern World: Materials and Dematerialization", Vaclav Smil, Wiley, 2013.

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