Distributed economy

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Distributed economies (DE) is a term that was coined by Allan Johansson et al. in 2005.[1]

Definition[edit]

There is no official definition for DE, but it could be described as a regional approach to promote innovation by small and medium-sized enterprises, as well as sustainable development. The concept is illustrated in the figure below, that shows centralised, decentralised and distributed economies respectively.

Different types of economies

Features[edit]

The relations in DE are much more complex than those in a centralised economy. This feature makes the whole economy more stable - leaf nodes no longer rely on just one central node. It also resembles ecological networks, making it a good practical example of Industrial Ecology. A big advantage of DE is that it enables entities within the network to work much more with regional/local natural resources, finances, human capital, knowledge, technology, and so on. It also makes the entities more flexible to respond to the local market needs and thus generating a bigger innovation drive. By doing this, they become a better reflection of their social environment and in that way they can improve quality of life. The whole concept of DE is not at all a new invention - this is how most pre-industrial economies were organised. However, information technology has opened new doors for the concept: information can be shared much more easily and small-scale production facilities (rapid prototyping) are becoming cheaper.[2] The DE concept works well with the development of Fab Labs.

Not all industries are fit for DE; for example, many chemical processes only become economically feasible & efficient on a large scale. On the other hand, bio-energy[3] and consumer products are interesting candidates.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Johansson A, Kisch P, Mirata M., 2005, Distributed economies - A new engine for innovation. Journal of Cleaner Production 2005;13:971-9
  2. ^ New York Times - Beam It Down From the Web, Scotty
  3. ^ Mirata M.,Nilsson H., Kuisma J., 2005, Production systems aligned with distributed economies: Examples from energy and biomass sectors. Journal of Cleaner Production 13 (10-11), 981-991

External links[edit]