The network economy is an idea presented by Yochai Benkler in his book The Wealth of Networks. He defines the term as a "new and important cooperative and coordinate action carried out through radically distributed, nonmarket mechanisms that do not depend on proprietary strategies."
Mostly in the first chapter of this book, Benkler argues that this new Network Economy undermines some of our basic assumptions about economics and human interaction because people collaborate in Network Economies and act altruistically. Furthermore, his new Network Economy is changing the power structure of our society (to some degree) along with Web 2.0 and other development. The Network Economy is fundamental for the development of Wikis, open source software and other collaborative phenomena.