L'émergence de l'économie modeste

PALO ALTO – Dans son célèbre essai de 1937, l'économiste Ronald Coase a soutenu que l'organisation pyramidale des économies occidentales, avec quelques rares producteurs importants au sommet et des millions de consommateurs passifs en bas, était due à l'existence des coûts de transaction : les investissements incorporels liés à la recherche, à la négociation, à la prise de décision et à l'application. Mais depuis Internet, les technologies mobiles et tous les médias sociaux qui ont pratiquement éliminé ces coûts dans de nombreux secteurs, cette structure économique va devoir évoluer.

En effet, aux États-Unis et en Europe, les chaînes de valeur intégrées verticalement et contrôlées par les grandes entreprises sont déjà contestées par les nouveaux écosystèmes de valeur orchestrés par le consommateur. Ces derniers permettent aux consommateurs de concevoir, de construire, de commercialiser et de distribuer les échanges de marchandises et de services entre eux en éliminant le besoin d'intermédiaires. Cette approche ascendante de la création de valeur est activée par les réseaux horizontaux (ou peer-to-peer) et les plates-formes de bricolage (DIY) qui constituent la base de l'économie « modeste ».

Deux facteurs clés alimentent la croissance de l'économie modeste : d'une part une crise financière prolongée, qui a affaibli le pouvoir d'achat des consommateurs de la classe moyenne en Occident. Et d'autre part, le sentiment grandissant de responsabilité environnementale chez ces consommateurs. Désireux d'économiser et de minimiser leur impact sur l'environnement, les consommateurs occidentaux rejettent de plus en plus la propriété individuelle en faveur de l'accès partagé aux produits et aux services.

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