Photo by oceanaris
I read a great article by Gary Hamel the other day titled: Capitalism is Dead. Long Live Capitalism. Every time I read one of his articles, I am amazed to see how he is able to write everything I think about just better and with more compelling examples.
Here is my favorite quote:
I am an ardent supporter of capitalism—but I also understand that while individuals have inalienable, God-given rights, corporations do not. Society can demand of corporations what it likes. That’s why self-serving beliefs are also, ultimately, self-limiting.
Of course, as consumers and citizens, we must acknowledge that companies can’t remedy every social ill or deliver every social benefit. We must also face up to our own schizophrenia. We can’t expect companies to behave responsibly if we blithely abandon our own principles to save a buck.
I wrote in the comments to the article. For some reason, my comment still does not appear on the site. Maybe I am being censored. Well, in the age of the internet, I don’t need the Wall Street Journal to publish my comment. I can do it myself. Time to adapt. Below is what I wrote.
Seth Godin wrote a while back: “And almost without exception, organizations are run by people who want to protect the old business, not develop the new one”. Larry Lessig has repeated this lesson many times: “1. Creativity and innovation always build on the past. 2. The past always tries to control the creativity that builds on it. 3. Free societies enable the future by limiting the past. 4. Ours is less and less a free society“ (See more on this issue here: http://tinyurl.com/3yr6wcd).
Gary is absolutely on the point. While Capitalism, in its current form, has done much good for society, we start to see its limitations as the world progresses. The problem is, like any faith or religion, Capitalism tries to protect itself by becoming more fundamentalist and more resistant to change. When religions start to behave like that, you know the end is near or you are approaching dark ages. Instead, Capitalism should be developing with the times. This is hasn’t been happening enough. This last crisis and other processes the world is going through is a great opportunity to start changing that and raising question marks regarding some of Capitalism’s assumptions and we can all make it better.
One example: Shareholder value. As I have written elsewhere (see: http://tinyurl.com/3xekuut), this concept needs a wide redefinition, aligned with some of the ideas Hamel is writing about here in this post. Unless we act and make sure that concepts and ideologies go through evolution and do not stagnate, we have nobody to complain to, but to ourselves.