Thursday, January 24, 2008
Rethinking the Economic Institutions of Hypercapitalism
So...the last thing I ever expected was for me and Bill Gates to agree on the next big (big) thing - I've always seen him as more Vader than Yoda.
But that's the score; billg of all people, is essentially arguing the title of this post: that the naive capitalism system cannot allocate resources or capital efficiently in many more circumstances than we would like to admit.
This is exactly (the flipside of) what we were discussing a few weeks ago.
It's the conclusion I reached earlier this year, and why I chose thinking more seriously about hypercapitalism as the next big thing at bubblegen: capitalism fails too often, too flagrantly, and in exactly the wrong places, for me to be entirely comfortable with it as the edifice of a global economy.
So Bill has the problem exactly right - but not, I think, the solution.
Let's rewind. I've been talking a lot on bubblegen lately about the ability for 2.0 to massively solve exactly the problems Billg talks about - poverty, hunger, disease, etc.
Because the economic institutions of capitalism - firms and (financial) markets - alone can't solve these problems.
No matter how much money we throw into them, at them, through them - they are solutions for very different problems; economic problems dominated by equilibrium solutions and a limited number of homogeneous players.
The new economic institutions of hypercapitalism are different: (new kinds of) markets, networks, communities - and the radically different firms that power them.
The challenge, I think, for people who wanna really build the next economy, is making markets, networks, and communities become the glue holding the hypercapitalist economy together.
It's won't be easy. But that's always been the great opportunity for 2.0 - not more (retarded) Facebook clones, ad nets, etc.
I think it would be interesting to chat with Bill about this (which is the last thing I ever thought I'd say) - if someone can drop some this post his way, that would (maybe) be cool.
Let me see if I can help on that final note you played...if not billg then some other deeply concerned folks that are well placed...
I'll be back to you on it....
first... capitalism is not a system, not even a "thing, it is more a snapshot, a moment in time, a process description of something that is on the way to being something else
second... capitalism is at essence selfishness intstituionalized, and fails the world because it doesn't have a "we", or its "we" is too narrow .... it is all about me and you, management and labor, company and customer.... it is rooted in duality, and maintaining that duality, so has no hope of takking us into unity (which is where we are going, nature is already "just one thing")
three... the gates foundation funds, what a waste, not understanding that if you push something down here, something else will pop up over there... in the meantime, put every dollar into schools and education
there's more, but enough