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Networks as “linking machines”: a fresh look at markets, organizations, and infrastructures in advanced societies

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1 Author(s)

The author proposes a view of modern networks as relationship management machines creating communities of people. He first reflects on the way in which economic analysis has approached the questions of organizations and relations. He tries to show that the rigid division of labor between micro economist and macro economist has left these issues in a no man's land until recently, when the transaction cost approach began to bridge the gap. The author therefore suggests directions in which this intellectual work may be pursued to its logical conclusions and sheds light on “information infrastructures”. After presenting the three dimensions of contact, contract, and commitment, the author turns his attention to three large networks (in air transportation, banking, and capital markets, respectively) that are currently serving as “information age infrastructures”. He tries to show that the way they fit in today's economy can only be understood fully by looking at them as “linking machines”

Published in:

IEEE Communications Magazine  (Volume:34 ,  Issue: 7 )