How long before the sun sets on traditional employment contracts?

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I’ve had some time recently to catch up on a number of TED talks.  Rachel Bostman spoke in Sydney on 2010 on the subject of Collaborative Consumption.  The main themes of the talk were society moving to a point of utilising technology to highlight reputation, and trusting that reputation in transactions which are moving from ebay and swapsites through to lending money or sharing expensive resources such as land or cars.

One graphic that stood out during the talk was this visualization from Jason Tester proposing a reputation statement account, and he first created this back in 2004.

Image Rights Creative Commons (Jason Tester) (Source)

There are some interesting points of reflection in 2011 which make me believe we finally have the critical mass to start to see reputation based models moving into employment models.  Those are:

  • We are increasingly trusting of reputations to allow us to make purchases, its only natural that this will progress to skills and services.
  • LinkedIn is now over 100 million people strong, this means that we all find peers and opportunities from this community than we do from our much smaller social circle or enterprise communities.
  • We increasingly are working as specialists in the long tail and the likelihood is that within the tail is where we will find peer support, opportunities and employment in the future.

The question is when?  Employment contracts today aren’t ready for the change, simple financial tools such as credit rating tools aren’t ready for the change.  It seems that we need to see the shift that society is making in trusting reputations to be repeated by institutions.

With that comes cautions too.  How easy would it be for our reputation to be damaged maliciously etc..  Its an exciting new world we are moving towards but its also just a little bit scary too.

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