• Chelsea Rustrum

Leaders of the New Economy

Updated: Feb 21

The beautiful lesson of the sharing economy is that we can start thinking about transactions differently — we can start viewing them as exchanges, with social or monetary currency to support connecting “wants” and “haves.” We have so much efficiency, so much abundance — how can we all be a bit more generous, a bit more open, and a bit more human in our interactions? And how does transacting with a human being differ from transacting with a corporation? Or does it? And if a corporation is involved, what structure will best support everyone involved? Does a value exchange have to include money? Or are there other forms of value? What does the future of money look like?

There are several people who have been doing long-term thinking about how the economy can and will change as the paradigm shifts. Most of them are respected authors as well as movement makers, including:

Ronald van den Hoff Ronald founded Seats 2 Meet in the Netherlands (61 coworking spaces and counting) and wrote a book titled Society 3.0. He is a big thinker about the future of work, serendipity, value exchanges, openness and transparency. @rvandenhoff


Michel Bauwens Michel runs the P2P foundation, which studies, researches, and documents peer-to-peer practices in a very broad sense. Bauwens also writes about the commons. Watch 4 Scenarios for the Collaborative Economy at Ouishare Fest to get a better idea of his work. @mbauwens

Jeremy Rifkin Jeremy Rifkin is the best-selling author of the Third Industrial Revolution and The Zero Marginal Cost Society. Rifkin talks about how the Collaborative Commons could displace capitalism “when the peer-to-peer economic and social practices of the Internet are extended to energy, logistics, and material fabrication.” @jeremyrifkin

David Bollier David Bollier recently released a book titled, Think Like a Commoner, which outlines everything from DIY to seed-sharing to collaborative consumption. Beyond authoring/co-authoring over a dozen books, Bollier also recently wrote an Aspen Report, “Will Bitcoin and Other Insurgent Currencies Reinvent Commerce?@davidbollier

Charles Eisenstein A “teacher, speaker, and writer focusing on themes of civilization, consciousness, money, and human cultural evolution,” Eisenstein speaks a lot about the gift economy, with notable works including Sacred Economics, which investigates why our monetary systems are structured the way they are and how they can change. Watch one of his most recent talks, “Time is Running Out.” @cesenstein

Neal Gorenflo Neal is the founder of Shareable, an online magazine for the sharing economy, the commons, and emerging grassroots and business models. He’s also the co-author of Share or Die, which chronicles young people who have been challenged by the recent recession. Lately he’s been speaking a lot about the commons and building sharing into the infastructure of cities through the Sharing Cities initiative. @gorenflo

Thomas H. Greco In 2009, Thomas wrote “The End of Money & Future of Civilization” where he goes into detail about how an alternate exchange or currency could provide a more equitable solution for all, putting the power back into the hands of individuals and communities. You can watch him talking about Reinventing Money on the Conscious Media Network or watch the “Debt Growth Imperative,” which outlines what he sees as the downfall of our eonomic system. @tomazgreco

Janelle Orsi Janelle is a lawyer, speaker and activist around solutions that work for building a sustainable economy — she’s done a fair amount of work in sharing economy law, communal housing, and is currently focused on building the Sustainable Economies and Law Center, which is honing in on how cooperative legal models might provide equitable legal structures for individuals contributors and communities. She also authored the Sharing Solution and Practicing Law in the Sharing Economy. @janelleorsi

I’m sure there are more teachers, leaders, activists, and speakers that I missed — please comment below to share other people, points of view, and resources that might be helpful for the new economy.

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