Collaborative Consumption: TED Talks

(notes on videos after each embed) Lisa Gansky: The Mesh In many circumstances, “access trumps ownership” — libraries, public transit, coffeehouses — and the Mesh refers to “meshy” businesses that provide “better things easily shared.” Vectors leading to this new emphasis on sharing: The Recession: we’re recalculating value based on what we’d now consider to be … Continue reading

Abraham Lincoln on Labor and Capital

from  Meltzer, Milton and Stephen Alcorn, Lincoln in His Own Words. (London: Sandpiper, 2009). 60. “Thinking about the value of labor, Lincoln set down this note:” And, inasmuch [as] most good things are produced by labor, it follows that [all] such things of right belong to those whose labor has produced them. But it has so happened … Continue reading

American Dreams

notes on Speth, James Gustave. “The American Dream vs. The Gospel of Wealth.” Yes! Magazine. 29 June 2011. What is the American Dream and what is its future? There are three dualities that Speth examines in this article. 1. The Pursuit of Happiness: Public Good or Personal Pleasure? The ‘pursuit of happiness’ was launched in different, … Continue reading

Mondragón Cooperative Corporation

In most for-profit businesses, labor is hired at the service of capital. For the Mondragón cooperatives, capital is something they rent to benefit the worker-owners. The Mondragón model is not only about distribution of the profits, it is also about control of the business. Capital is borrowed, stock is not sold for financing. All new … Continue reading

Triple Bottom Line

The idea of the “triple bottom line” (TBL or 3BL) goes back to 1994, when the phrase was coined by John Elkington. He argued that companies should we working toward three equally important bottom lines: profit, people, and planet (3P). This is a major component of the stakeholder value movement of the 21st century. TBL has become … Continue reading

Capitalism 3.0

notes on Barnes, Peter. Capitalism 3.0. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, 2006. Systemic problem of capitalist democracy: government puts the interests of private corporations before those of its citizens. Neither market nor state alone can be the full answer to the problems — both are flawed. Tragedy of the commons: people will always over-use a commons because … Continue reading

Monopoly Economics

The perennially popular board game Monopoly is a reasonable simulacrum of capitalism. At the beginning of the game, players move around a commons and try to privatize as much as they can. The player who privatizes the most invariably wins. But Monopoly has two features currently lacking in American capitalism: all players start with the same amount of … Continue reading

You have two cows…

Traditional Capitalism You have two cows. You sell one and buy a bull. Your herd multiplies and the economy grows. You sell them and retire on the income. American Capitalism You have two cows. The government taxes you to the point you have to sell both to support a man in a foreign country who … Continue reading

Funny, we never thought of Atlas Shrugged…

I just finished watching the movie of Atlas Shrugeed, Part 1. Bad. Movie. Made me long from a Randian world because then the screenwriters would be doing something useful, like making machine parts or driving cabs, rather than being paid to write such a horrific adaptation of Ayn Rand’s magnum opus. Now, admittedly, I read … Continue reading

Alger, Jobs, and American Capitalism

Alger defined his mission clearly.  “A writer for boys,” he explained in 1896, “should remember his responsibility and exert a wholesome influence on his young readers.  Honesty, industry, frugality, and a worthy ambition he can preach through the medium of a story much more effectively than a lecturer or preacher.  I have tried to make … Continue reading

Weber’s The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism

The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism (full text) —=+=— [from Wikipedia] The Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism is a book written by Max Weber, a German sociologist, economist, and politician. Begun as a series of essays, the original German text was composed in 1904 and 1905, and was translated into English for the first time by Talcott Parsons in 1930. It is considered … Continue reading

Self-organizing capitalism / Catallaxy

[From Wikipedia] Capitalism Self-organization Austrian School economists have argued that capitalism can organize itself into a complex system without an external guidance or planning mechanism. Friedrich Hayek coined the term “catallaxy” to describe what he considered the phenomenon of self-organization underpinning capitalism. From this perspective, in process of self-organization, the profit motive has an important role. From transactions between … Continue reading