What will become the next non-monetary economy?

Chris “Long Tail” Anderson has an interesting guest post from Adam Gurri that discusses non-monetary economies, like the acting profession:

The thing about acting is that the labor force (actors) actually value the ability to do work in that field that they are willing to take on work for nothing and take on other jobs as a sort of cross-subsidy.  There is a sort of demand for employment in theater, which makes competition among actors so fierce as to actually drive down wages (at time of entry at least) to zero or near zero.

His argument continues that many content-creation jobs (like blogging about your profession, for example) have such low overheads that they’re cutting the feet out from under journalists, who were paid to have the time to research topics they probably didn’t know much about to start with. There’s still ‘room at the top’ for good writers with deep knowledge (whether they started as journalists or experts), but the old career path from copyboy upwards seems to be gone for good.

Whether you see that as a good thing or a bad thing probably depends on what sort of work you do, but I think we can all agree it’s happening. The question is – after journalism, what will be the next to fall? And might the flow of money be supplemented by some sort of reputational currency, like whuffie?

5 thoughts on “What will become the next non-monetary economy?”

  1. Writing can still pay well, if you know what you’re talking about, but the big-time celebrity journalist days (for print pages anyway) are probably over, to be replaced with blogging and online writing. Still good money to be made there.

  2. All things tend towards commodity prices, economists say. At the moment even money itself is nearly free, as long as you’re too important or well connected to go bankrupt. Money is becoming a non-monetary economy. The future is a socialised commodity. The future is cheap.

    I suspect there is already to reason to work, no need to wait for a post-scarcity singularity economy, but old habits die hard.

    Habits which create a demand for work, all work is a form of acting afterall.

  3. Well, let’s see. It will be something for which the following of true:

    – It involves the creation of a tangible or intangible product for which limited demand exists (e.g. books, theater shows)
    – It’s something that’s romanticized in popular culture
    – It’s a career in which a very limited number of people make disproportionately large salaries
    – It will be somehow related to current trends or popular topics.

    I think I’ll go ahead and place my chips on “politics.”

  4. If you write well, that is a skill in itself. Even if you know nothing about the topic and write entertainingly about the topic, there will be work and $$$ for you.

Comments are closed.