I have been reading a lot this summer on complexity, networks and related themes. One thing that becomes clear is that networks form to the extent that they are cost-benefit justified. Anything that adds to cost (distance, trust, search cost, boundaries) tends to retard the development of a network. While there are some benefits to government, government can frequently be a cost that slows network formation.
While everyone heralds Uber as a great example of sharing, I prefer to characterize it as a disruptor in a regulated industry. I am excited to see government regulated industries disrupted. Such disruption will lower the cost of "networks" and doing business.
This article at Marginal Revolution, "Can economists justify pre-market exclusion for pharmaceuticals?", challenges some traditional roles for government in drug approvals, home mortgages and Exim Bank. I think this research area is very interesting. I think it further initiates a dialogue about the role of government. I have no doubt that government's scale and scope will be reduced as technology allows us to do things more cheaply than relying on government, but we need to start a real dialogue about the subject and academia is one place to start.
My new book, "Scaling Social Entrepreneurship: Lessons Learned at One Laptop per Child", is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle e-book versions.