Since the 18th century, we have been living in the Now Society of modernism. What can we expect for the Next Society?
The world is everything that is the case, according to Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein; and the cases are active observations by observers. That does not imply that there is no reality without observers. »Reality« is out there; but in order to say anything meaningful about it, you have to observe, distinguish and name it. This is especially true for observations about a future that is, in Shakespeare’s words, the undiscovered country. The future is made through (pre-)observation, not just given. The future is imagined, narrated into existence; decisions are based upon it that, in turn, have their generative effects and unintended side effects; and in the end the future might be totally different than imagined, different than pre-observed.
The Next Society then is the new context referring to connected actors across many sectors that cannot be reduced to one specific part of society like »the economy« or »the civil society«. Between various actors on many different market places, reciprocity emerges as the central relation, the central re-entry. Reciprocity here refers to the promise of mutual trust and conscious admitting of interdependencies. This fits the heterarchical and co-creative mode of production as problem solving. Crucial are the contextual change from scarcity to abundance and the new relation beyond growth, towards enough. The Now Economy tried to overcome scarcity via growth but has only achieved to replace one scarcity with another one, building a vicious cycle without end and no way out. The Next Economy is not interested in scarcity; if something is scarce it can be shared. It just needs a platform in order to create a better social organization of resource and product use.
Society is currently dealing with, or trying to learn to deal with, various kinds of abundance. For instance, there is an of information, not a scarcity. But information is not truth. Misinformation is also information. Fake news is also information. There is also an abundance of options when it comes to the consumer economy, which makes selection more difficult.
Instead of scarcity, companies in the Next Economy will deal with abundance: how to organize, how to manage this abundance of opportunities, this abundance of problem solutions? Growth as a thought figure is not helpful here, there is enough anyway. And therefore enoughness in the Daoist sense is so important: if you know what is enough for you, you will always have enough. This new thought figure of enoughness relieves the firm, the economy and the individual in a dramatic way. Instead of consumerism and consumptions, a new re-entry becomes possible: conviviality.