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]