Economics of Expandables

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This site has been created to generate new learning about the Economics of Expandables. See next page for a download of the presentation made in NYC in 1999 that outlines the general principles, driving forces, and graphic demonstrations.

The Economics of Expandables have always been operating in our societies since the beginning of time. What is new is the emerging Laws that drive the Economics of Abundance -- something spiritual leaders have declared for centuries.

More on the Economics of Expandables will be included in my forthcoming book: Collaborative Entrepreneurship, written with Todd Welch (private printing September 2008.) and even more in Trusted to Lead with Paul Lawrence (end of 2011)

for more information, contact Robert Porter Lynch: Email -- RobertLynch [at] (replace [at] with @)

Sharing Expands Possibilities -- Synergistic Economics

For a moment, consider the interconnection between synergy and sharing. Synergy’s goal is to attain the 1+1=3 proposition. The only way to attain such gain is through co-creative sharing. Alliances are built on the fundamental premise that sharing of risks and resources will expand the possibilities and rewards available to all.

Sadly, in a world where certain resources may have been scarce, hording is a common practice, based on the belief that hording will control resources, thereby maximizing returns.

One must distinguish between Expendable resources that disappear upon sale or consumption (such as oil, food, minerals, etc) and Expandable resources that multiply the more they are used (such as creativity, cooperation, and teamwork).

Expendable resources are depleted and decrease upon usage.

Expandable resources regenerate and increase when used.

Trust is the “Cultural Arrow” of human evolution that directs the course of history, the fate of nations, and the destinies of people.

It is the determinative factor in cultural evolution and the development of beneficial synergies.

Trust enables the Economics of Expandables to flourish and Synergy to manifest itself in economic wealth.

Trust takes fear out of the economic equation. Fear -- and its associated behaviors, such as excessive protection, legal costs, and transaction costs -- also limits collaborative innovation, which is the principle source of economic wealth generation.

For centuries, sociologists have thrashed the dilemma of why societies don’t evolve on an ever-upward path, especially given the seemingly limitless capacity of humans to learn. Trust is the determinative factor in directing the ascendance, descendance, or stagnation of any social group, whether it be a family, a business, a community, or a nation. One’s ability to trust prudently may be the most important social skill in humankind’s grand repertoire.

(see for more information)

For example, software is an expandable resource. Using it daily does not diminish its size or impact. To the contrary, using software creates more value every time it is used -- therefore it expands. It is best used when shared, transferred and transmitted. Using this resource brings it to life. Capturing the learning and sharing the knowledge generated by software only makes it more valuable, reaching more people, and generating more future possibilities.

Unlike expendables, which adhere to the universal price laws of supply and demand, expandables are not limited by supply, and demand does not increase their price, but does increase their value.

We must be able to distinguish between expendables and expandables when negotiating any strategic relationship. To treat each with the same principles limits possibilities of expanding the realm of the partnership. This type of thinking is often reflected in contracts for intellectual property, where negotiators tussle for months and even years over ownership rights. Their hording mentality blocks them from realizing that, if sharing of intellectual property rights occurred, both sides would create more new ideas and command a better mutual competitive advantage.

The Economic Laws of Expendables run counter to the Laws of Expandables, but both are true and both mutually exist in our world. The problem is that miserly minds can’t acknowledge the latter.

Accessing the expansive possibility of sharing begins with the mutual belief that “the more you give, the more you’re going to get.” When both partners hold this belief, it manifests. The general rule for the Law of Expandables is

Sharing Expands, Hording Contracts

Roy Rogers, commenting on his long marriage to Dale Evans, remarked that a great marriage is not a 50-50 arrangement. Both partners have to give at least 100%.

Rogers said both Dale and he were always willing to go beyond: giving 120%.

The Law of Expandables creates its own “regenerative energy” -- this is what we call “synergy.”

If you have an apple and I have an apple
and we exchange these apples,
then you and I will still each have one apple.
But if you have an idea and I have an idea
and we exchange these ideas,
then each of us will have two ideas.

-- George Bernard Shaw
(and perhaps many more new ideas will emerge)

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