Anytime our government “leaders” start talking about serious corporate reform they either get their reputations destroyed in the (corporate-owned) mainstream media (here and here), are bought off (here and here), or are killed.
How does David beat Goliath?
Since WWII, laws, regulations and corporate rights have been written so that corporations simply can’t be beaten at their own game. They are too big, too rich, and too ingrained in the system they have built.
And therein lies their weakness.
Their system has become so top-heavy with bureaucracy, legal battles, copy-right protections, lobbying costs and bribery that many are on the brink of collapsing under the weight of their own assholery.
We don’t beat them, we build around them and crowd out big business.
Anytime there’s talk of increasing corporate taxes, limiting offshoring, integrating cradle-to-grave costs, or anything that might lower profits, CEOs scream bloody murder. “The changes would be unfair!” and make them “less competitive in the marketplace”. All the more reason this movement needs to be global.
If you increase corporate taxes in Ontario, Alberta’s companies have an advantage. Introducing the Robin Hood tax in Europe puts traders in America at an advantage. Increase environmental regulations in the mining industry and corporations in unregulated countries will have an advantage.
If necessary, corporations threaten the big one – to “take their business elsewhere”. They threaten to move offshore, killing local jobs, reducing the local economy and upsetting the job-hungry voters – a threat no politician will stand up to.
So what happens? Nothing. Government’s “hands are tied” and its businesses as usual.
So fuck ‘em.
Existing businesses have had their shot. They have brought us this far (thank you very much) but now it’s time to evolve.
As the corporate-friendly Mr. Bush was known to say, “They’re either with us, or against us.”
If existing corporations refuse to change, the change will have to leave them behind.
New, innovative, Capitalism 2.0 businesses must lead the charge and push the dinosaurs to extinction.
To successfully switch to Capitalism 2.0 we need to build new businesses whose commitment to creating peace and a healthy eco-system is the differentiator that attracts new business.
Crowd out big business
I first heard about crowding-out from the diet industry. “Crowd-out your carbs by filling up on greens”, they said. Start your meals with a great big salad so you won’t have as much room for the main course.
We shouldn’t try to beat the corporations at their own game, we must simply crowd out big business.
Corporations that refuse to change, or refuse to be changed, or are too big to change, must be ignored and left behind by innovative small business leading the way
The beautiful thing about the world today, the essence of its simplicity, is that customers rule the world. Any corporation, religion, political party or television station can be killed simply by diverting their customers to a new product.
Politicians that bow to payoffs and corporate interests will be replaced with new leaders who recognize the flaws of this short-sighted game.
The banking industry clearly isn’t willing to change so crowd-funding, micro-loans and decentralized, open-source currencies like Bitcoin and local currencies will replace the centuries old banking cabals.
Goodbye you old, racist (here, here, and here), homophobic (here, here and here), women-haters (here and here) that run Big Business and mass media. Hello to a new breed of young entrepreneurs who grew up in diverse neighbourhoods with gay friends.
My generation accepted people because it was highschool and we weren’t given a choice. Today, we share our feelings, hug our parents, and play with our kids – all the things the dinosaurs can’t seem to manage.
A side note: next time your at a corporate do, hug a few of the executives… you’ll see how easy it is to fluster them and gain control of a situation.
To successfully switch to Capitalism 2.0 we need to build new businesses whose commitment to creating peace and a healthy eco-system is the differentiator that attracts new business. Don’t compete with the laggards; innovate, collaborate and co-operate with the innovators.
Your Flocking Customers
If someone started a non-profit oil company, they would immediately get my business. I’d drive across town to fill up with them! If someone started a Social Enterprise cell phone company, I’d switch–and I’d tell all my friends and followers about them. A co-operative airline? I’d fly them whenever I could. How about a utility company that puts 55% of their profits back into interest-free solar installation loans for home owners? Or a zero-interest loan bank?
With the innovations of decentralization and crowd-funding all of these things are suddenly not only possible, they are sustainable.
If a utility company helped people install solar cells on their roofs, wouldn’t they put themselves out of business?
Great question. Yes, possibly, but only if their business model became redundant, in which case, they should go out of business. If ALL their customers switched over to solar they wouldn’t need to buy power anymore – but the customers would still need access to the electrical grid to share, store and trade electricity with neighbouring regions when the clouds roll in. The utility company might go out of the business of selling hydro- or coal-electricity, but they would evolve their business model along with their evolving customers. Because profit would no longer be the primary driver, they would have room to innovate, change and listen to the changing needs of their customers. It would be in their best interest to collaborate with their competitors, finding new solutions and product offerings.
Corporate Constipation would finally be replaced with Corporate Co-operation.
Because Capitalism 2.0 is built in to the DNA of a business, the means for profit would change with the new opportunities created from their “investment” in their first two priorities. Businesses would become leaner, less competitive and more co-operative in nature.
Wouldn’t a company focusing first on profit always be “cheaper” than their Capitalism 2.0 competitor, and therefore rule supreme?
Another great question.
10 years ago, yes, probably. Today however, in an effort to minimize overhead and maximize profits, most large corporations have cut so many corners and upset so many of their customers that the public is actively looking for alternatives. Today, the negative affects of globalization, monopolistic acquisitions, aggressive competition and the drive for maximum profits have made customers ready, willing and, in some cases, desperate for ethical alternatives. Many of us would help crowd-fund alternative start-ups if it meant leaving a dinosaur to wither and die.
Furthermore, an ethical business needn’t worry about the unethical costs that most of the large corporations are now facing. As the drive for growth and profits have gone up, so have the frequency and costs of customer and employee lawsuits, judicial and political bribes, campaign contributions and lobbying costs, public relations and green-washing campaigns, and of course fines and penalties. How’s that latest $13.7 billion fine affecting BP’s bottom line?
I don’t expect the old dogs to learn new tricks. I expect young dogs to start new businesses because they want these new tricks.
Ethical companies by their nature have none of these costs. Many receive free viral advertising thanks to all the bloggers and eco-warriers out there talking about innovative solutions to the world’s problems. Interns flock to work for free in progressive businesses, and as employee satisfaction is inherent, it means no one needs to be paid blood money to prevent them from whistle blowing their company’s dirty secrets.
Come to think of it, it might actually be cheaper to run an ethical Capitalism 2.0 business!
But what would stop a dinosaur from just saying they’re ethical?
First, they already do say they’re ethical (“green washing”). It’s up to the customer to follow their judgement and common sense (remember those?)
Capitalism 2.0 is a philosophy. It’s built in to the DNA of businesses. Most businesses couldn’t (and wouldn’t) pretend to take on this model because it goes against everything they stand for – profit. Again, go hug an executive and see if he can persuade you he was ok with these “modern” ways of thinking.
If BP announced they were giving away 55% of their profit, maybe I’d sit up and listen – but they’d need to do more than that to persuade me they’ve changed their tactics.
As Jesus once said, “There will always be assholes.” There will always be corporations that try to jump on to this bandwagon and there’s nothing we can do to stop that.
This, to me, is just another argument for crowding out. I don’t expect the old dogs to learn new tricks. I expect young dogs to start new businesses because they want these new tricks. The Social Enterprise movement is gaining momentum. Hybrid for- and non-profit corporations are popping up everywhere, and young entrepreneurs are starting projects because they want peace and a healthy eco-system.
In short, the dinosaurs won’t be able to keep up, let alone spend more money for more green washing.
David won’t beat Goliath, he’ll out run him, out smart him, and out perform him. And his customers will be helping the entire time because we are so tired of being stepped on.