The inaugural research project of the BRICS Competition Law and Policy Centre and IIASA
introduces how nature-based models can empower antitrust regulation to adapt to the new environment of the digital economy.
While businesses have already evolved from structured and static mechanisms into flexible and dynamic ecosystems, regulatory mechanisms still follow the logic of the industrial era and often fail to capture their living nature. The fluid digital economy flows around rock-solid laws.
Nature can be the answer.
Modern business thinking in ecological terms encourages regulators to switch to an ecological approach as well. Ecology and biology are a wellspring of knowledge and data. Such notions of predators and prey, competition, mutation and more, have long been an object of global research and now can provide useful analogies for understanding afresh the ecology of market competition and developing new regulatory strategies.
In the Chinese tradition, the correlation between people and nature found reflection in the Wuxing concept, which represents five phases (or elements) of evolution of any system: Birth (wood), Growth (fire), Transformation (earth), Externalization (metal) and Renewal (water), after which the cycle begins all over again.
Antirust must develop new tools that are designed to cultivate a regulatory environment for a new beast – a digital platform ecosystem, a digital dragon with enormous ability to grow and adapt.
J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings
The world has changed.
I see it in the water.
I feel it in the Earth.
I smell it in the air.
Digital ecosystems are driven by inner vital power, sometimes beyond the control and even comprehension of their orchestrators. To regulate ecosystems efficiently, regulators need to acknowledge their living nature and transform themselves too: from mechanics, who repair and maintain, to gardeners, who cultivate and breed.