Noreena Hertz On Co-op Capitalism

noreenaNoreena Hertz, dubbed one of the world’s leading thinkers and one of the top 10 most followed professors on Twitter, says that a post-luxe era needs co-op capitalism, writing in Wired:

The world desperately needs a new form of capitalism. One that would trump the version we’re living with, which I’ve named “Gucci capitalism” because it overvalues status and undervalues equity. We’re more ashamed not to have a new Gucci handbag (or any luxe brand, come to that) than to get in debt. The ideal replacement, “co-op capitalism”, prioritises collective destiny. It would value the network and see connectivity as a social, political and economic goal. It would recognise the import of relationships — and understand that how an exchange takes place impacts upon its outcome. It would prioritise social cohesion.

Whereas Gucci capitalism was about beggar thy neighbour, co-op capitalism recognises that collaboration can trump competition. Where Gucci capitalism was about individual success, co-op capitalism is about our collective future and interdependencies. Gucci capitalism was all about people serving capital; co-op capitalism is about people sharing the spoils of capitalism in an equitable fashion. The co-op model may well resonate much closer with our true natures than Gucci capitalism did. The assumption of Gucci capitalism — that we’re selfish, super-individualistic beings who care only about maximising our wealth, salaries and resources — turns out to be more a failing of mainstream economists than an accurate depiction of us.

Anthropological studies show that societies that have less, share more. Recent work in behavioural economics has confirmed that benevolence is not alien to our nature…

[continues in Wired]

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5 Responses to Noreena Hertz On Co-op Capitalism

  1. Monkey See Monkey Do March 21, 2012 at 4:22 pm #

    If disinfo could show us how many people dislike certain articles, it would be interesting for articles like this.

  2. Jin The Ninja March 21, 2012 at 5:44 pm #

    “Anthropological studies show that societies that have less, share more.
    Recent work in behavioural economics has confirmed that benevolence is
    not alien to our nature…”

    those same societies are not ‘capitalist,’ and the fact is any student of history or culture could have confirmed those behavioural traits simply by historical measure. it is capitalism that enhances and engenders our greed and ‘inhumanity’ and excerbates violence. it shows the ultimate disrespect to the environment. and in our ‘post-historical’ world (right…) it has affected our consciousness’ and limited us.

    while this is a nice thought, and perhaps could work. a re-direction of capitist intent? will that sustain us? end poverty? i don’t know. the cynic in me says, ‘it seems like wank-job given to a bunch of self congratulatory technocrats, so they can ‘feel’ better about their social “entreprenurialism” (aka Kony).

  3. Mr Willow March 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    “co-op capitalism”, prioritises collective destiny. 

    co-op capitalism recognises that collaboration can trump competition. 

    co-op capitalism is about our collective future and interdependencies.

    co-op capitalism is about people sharing the spoils of capitalism in an equitable fashion. 

    Socialism already has a name; and while I agree with her general suggestion that such a system would be much more beneficial to the function of society, the need to create a new label for something that has existed for a very long time is conflicting. 

    On the one hand, it does a great disservice to socialists, who have been advocating such things since before Marx was born, which serves no other purpose than to diminish their efforts and ideas, and ideals, of the past two-hundred (some odd) years, and it should be seen as an insult to everyone involved. 

    On the other hand, if re-branding something works to bring about the desired outcome anyway—or at least produces a step in the proper direction—I find it difficult to complain (as loudly), especially considering the word ‘socialism’ has been so very tainted by images of death and enslavement. 

    I do, however, find troubling the constant need to separate ‘Gucci capitalism’ from what capitalism actually is—a system based upon being “selfish, super-individualistic beings who care only about maximising our wealth, salaries and resources”, to quote her—mostly because I am sick to death of seeing this false dichotomy being presented, as well as the inclusion of Apple and Facebook in her list of examples for a coöperative(-esque?) model to be admired, considering Apple’s track record for pretty much embodying the problems of capitalism (human rights violations, overpricing of products, the domineering nature in which they treat their products [little to no customisation, asinine way in which they handle the app-vetting process] etc.) and Facebook’s continual privacy-policy issues and overreaching control of their users’ accounts. 

  4. readytosaybye March 22, 2012 at 2:54 pm #

    More fancy terminology… I’m still scratching my head why Africa isn’t fixed after 30+ years of aid? I was giving money to Oxfam when I was a kid in elementary school.  I don’t think many generation Y kids are brought up to care about anything but themselves and their ipods.  With the advances in manufacturing and an increased labor pool I would like to know why the world is MORE screwed up than it was before ??

  5. Liquidself March 22, 2012 at 5:54 pm #

    A rose by any other name – and still with thorns. 
    This is so tame and palatable.  One could mount an argument that “co-op” capitalsim is in fact what we have. 
    Cooperation is not always desirable, esp. if your cooperatee has more skills, knowlege, and can still guide your decisions. 

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