This book examines the blossoming of innovative new experiments in organizing work and life that emerged in the wake of the financial crisis: cooperatives, barter networks, ethical banking, community currencies, shared time banks, solidarity networks, sharing of goods, non-monetary transactions, etc., experiments that paved the way for the emergence of a sharing economy in all domains of activity oriented toward the satisfaction of human needs. Other innovations included the creation of cryptographic virtual currencies, epitomized by bitcoin, which blended a libertarian, entrepreneurial spirit with information technology to provide an alternative to standard forms of currency. On the basis of a cross-cultural analysis of alternative economic practices, this book develops an important theoretical argument: that the economy, as a human practice, is shaped by culture, and that the diversity of cultures, as revealed in a time of crisis, implies the possibility of different economies depending on the values and power relations that define economic institutions.
This book will be of great interest to students and scholars in sociology, economics and the social sciences generally, and to anyone who wishes to understand how our societies and economies are changing today.
Keywords: Castells, Manuel Castells, political economy, sharing, co-operative, bitcoin, alternative currency, slow cities, financial crisis, sharing economy, alternative economics, economics, economic growth, Sociology of Economics