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Bastiaan van Rooden

03 Feb, 6:10 pm

04 Feb, 2:10 am

04 Feb, 10:10 am

15 min

The infinity of economics vs. the finity of ourselves – The tragedy that we should finally come to terms with.


The current driving force of economics is the idea of infinite growth based on infinite resources. This has defined our perception of our existence and the way we understand our society, as well as the world we live in. The present reveals how challenging it is to break out of this "running machine" image we created of our society. The solutions from the past have become hard-wired, 'god-given' and we struggle to find real alternatives: An alternative where our society is not a running machine, but a living organism.

Given this current mindset, heavily influenced by the industrial age, we need to ask: Are we prepared for the fundamental changes heralded by artificial intelligence, which eats its way through all aspects of our society by automating decision-making? Aren't we automating harmful patterns from the past and applying them at scale to the future? Do we really hope that the current tragedies created by our economy should be solved with the past mindset? Should we keep on applying plasters on a broken system? We may be unknowingly perpetuating a giant machine, us being cog-wheels... replaceable parts, limited only by our life span. A machine that doesn't know life, nor death. A perpetuum mobile taking energy from any resource it can grasp.

To step out of our system, I'd like to talk about death, finity, obsolence, the end of things. How economy understands these and how we as human beings currently see these topics. Because we can only face our future by shedding light on our life as a limited, not an unlimited good. Not in an economic sense, but from the perspective of organism, life and nature.

This is an unparalleled opportunity for designers to rethink and reshape the foundations of our society with our most powerful asset: Imagination. But where do we begin? Or should we rather ask: What do we end up with?

Meet the speaker

Bastiaan van Rooden


Founder of Nothing Inc., Peerdom Inc.

Bastiaan is the founder of Nothing Inc., a Swiss venture lab that aims to design products which matter for our society. The lab recently launched Peerdom, which redesigns organizations in order to ultimately reshape the economy bottom-up. Bastiaan calls himself a cybernetician, striving to repair the interrupted feedback loops in our world. One feedback loop at a time.

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