Living on Thin Air – The New Economy

Today more and more of us make our livings from thin air – from our ideas and know-how. This is because knowledge is becoming the most creative force in the modern economy. In old capitalism, the critical assets were raw materials, land, labour and machinery. In the new capitalism, the raw materials are know-how, creativity, ingenuity and imagination. Our generation is the beneficiary of unprecedented flows of knowledge from science and education, and we are equipped in ever more powerful ways to share and combine our know-how through communications. As a result, the opportunities for growth are boundless. But this new economy is perilous as well as powerful. An economy driven by creativity should be more humane. Instead most of us feel our economic lives are out of control, dominated by soulless financial markets and clouded by the insecurities bred by corporate downsizing. Living on Thin Air is about how we can create an environment that is both innovative and inclusive. Our societies should be organized around the creation of knowledge capital and social capital, rather than being dominated by the power of financial capital. Charles Leadbeater shows how we can create communities of competition, in which we collaborate to compete in the global economy. The book sets out a new constitution for the new economy that shows why entrepreneurship will become a mass activity, companies will need to be structured as if they were brains, ownership must be broadly spread, and networks will become the main way of organizing the knowledge economy. Leadbeater argues for a radical overhaul of corporate and government institutions inherited from the industrial era which are ill suited to the knowledge economy, including new approaches to measuring economic value, taxation and social entrepreneurship.

Charles Leadbeater, 1999, Published by Penguin Group, 27 Wrights Lane, London, W8 5TZ. Vivere D’Aria – La New Economy, Charles Leadbeater, 2000 (Italian edition of Living on Thin Air) Published by Fazi Editore srl, Via Isonzo 42, Roma, Italy, see above summary.Living on Thin Air – The New Economy with a New Blueprint for the 21st Century, Charles Leadbeater, 2001 (Chinese Edition of Living on Thin Air) see above summary.

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