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  • Series: New Horizons in Institutional and Evolutionary Economics series x
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Chris Berg, Sinclair Davidson and Jason Potts

Ledgers are a fundamental economic technology. This chapter develops the ledger-centric view of the economy. Ledgers provide an underlying infrastructure for exchange by allowing actors to prove, validate, and verify property ownership. In this sense ledgers map economic, political and social relationships. The chapter offers three analytic categories of ledgers (general, actual, and perfect), and considers the evolution of ledger technology in this context. Finally, the chapter tackles ledgers as rule sets for economic coordination, and the significance of this for interoperability.

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Chris Berg, Sinclair Davidson and Jason Potts

This chapter answers the question of whether cryptocurrencies are money. Blockchain tokens do not fit neatly into our categories of financial assets. The chapter asks whether, and how, money is a public good or emergent social institution, and then applies this to crypto-tokens. Money can be seen as ‘dequity’: a unique instrument with the features of both debt and equity. The chapter then considers the evolution of money in a world of a multiplicity of cryptocurrencies and other technologies – such as artificial intelligence – that allow for barter transactions to occur at a low cost.

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Chris Berg, Sinclair Davidson and Jason Potts

Distributed ledgers record and make available information through time. Unsurprisingly, their use for managing records of goods (and services) as they travel through supply chains has been the second most prominent application of distributed ledger technology after cryptocurrencies. This chapter details the economics of supply chain management on blockchains as the creation and accumulation of identity attributes in historical time. It first details how distributed ledger supply chain management reduces opportunism, and consequently where value is distributed on the chain. It then outlines an identity theory of supply chains, and relates that theory to the ledger-centric view of the economy.

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Chris Berg, Sinclair Davidson and Jason Potts

This chapter details how blockchains facilitate a new category of firm: the V-form organisation, where vertical integration is outsourced to a distributed ledger. The chapter first outlines the evolution of the firm from the unitary structure (U-form) to the multidivisional (M-form), and explains how V-form organisations are distinct. V-form organisations are structured around supply chains of information. The chapter looks at the experience of V-form organisations so far, and makes some predictions about the future of the firm, which the authors expect to be smaller, less hierarchical, and more networked.

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Chris Berg, Sinclair Davidson and Jason Potts

This chapter provides a framework to think about public policy choices in response to blockchain technology. It first introduces the idea of ‘crypto-friendly’ public policy as a set of policy dispositions around regulatory clarity and consistency and a permissionless innovation attitude to the risks posed by new technologies. The chapter explores the complex balance between regulatory certainty and the rapid need for regulatory change in response to new institutional innovation. It then presents these policy change dilemmas in an international context. Blockchains are available wherever the internet is available, and blockchain firms can locate themselves in the most crypto-friendly jurisdiction.

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Chris Berg, Sinclair Davidson and Jason Potts

This chapter explores the long-run economic and policy consequences of wide-spread blockchain technology adoption. Blockchains disrupt the historical rationale for much modern economic policy. the authors formulate the institutional logic of a co-evolutionary model of the demand for economic policy. In the industrial revolution, complex production led to economic growth, but that complexity had to be managed through hierarchical governance. Karl Marx and Joseph Schumpeter both identified the consequences of hierarchy for power relations, creating a demand for public policy to counteract the effects of hierarchy. Blockchains offer the dehierarchicalisation of capitalism, and a corresponding reduction in demand for anti-hierarchy public policy.

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Chris Berg, Sinclair Davidson and Jason Potts

This chapter concludes and summarises the findings of the book. It observes that blockchains and distributed ledgers are an early stage technology. Scepticism about the value of blockchain technology is understandable, given that Satoshi Nakamoto’s White Paper was only published in 2008 and many important features – such as smart contracts – are even newer. The conclusion underlines how the significance of ledgers to economic exchange suggests that a new ledger technology will have long-run effects.

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Chris Berg, Sinclair Davidson and Jason Potts

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In this thought-provoking book, Bart Nooteboom offers a radical critique of the principal intellectual and moral assumptions underlying economic science, unravelling the notion of markets: how they work and fail, and how they may be redirected to better serve us.
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Åke E. Andersson and David Emanuel Andersson

In this challenging book, the authors demonstrate that economists tend to misunderstand capital. Frank Knight was an exception, as he argued that because all resources are more or less durable and have uncertain future uses they can consequently be classed as capital. Thus, capital rather than labor is the real source of creativity, innovation, and accumulation. But capital is also a phenomenon in time and in space. Offering a new and path-breaking theory, they show how durable capital with large spatial domains — infrastructural capital such as institutions, public knowledge, and networks — can help explain the long-term development of cities and nations.