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Businessweek Archives

G20 in London--Redesigning The Neoliberal Capitalist Model. ZipCar's Robin Chase Has Another Framework


The buzz in global policy circles is all about ??edesigning The System?and the upcoming Tuesday meeting in London will start with redesigning the global financial system. Clearly, we need to do this as the era of no regulation market capitalism has proved such a disaster. With perfect timing, my class in Design-At-The-Edge at The New School/Parsons is beginning a module on New Forms of Capitalism this Monday with a presentation on Sharing Capitalism by the founder in 1999 of Zipcar Robin Chase. Zipcar uses the web to make the idea of renting cars by the hour (and NOT owning but sharing) a business model reality. Robin then founded GoLoco to use social networking to making car pooling a business reality (if you get to know people via pictures and stories on a network, you’ll want to car pool with them).

Social networks make collaboration and sharing and renting a more viable and profitable form of economic model that can compete with owning stuff. In a world full of stuff, it’s worth seriously thinking about what we really need to own and have all the time and what we need episodically (such as cars in cities). The push for sustainability and more sustainable economic models translates for many people into simply having less stuff—making less stuff. Sharing allows you to have stuff when you need it, cutting down on the materiality of the world. The web allows us to treat stuff as service, boosting sustainability. Think about it.

As part of the alternative capitalist models section of my Parsons class, Jacqueline Novogratz, founder of Acumen Fund, a non-profit global venture fund, will present on April 6. She has a most spectacular book out, The Blue Sweater, that is heart-breakingly beautiful, about her personal experiences in Africa and Asia.

And we have Mike Mandel, the chief economist of Business Wee, presenting on the new field of Innovation Economics, which challenges many of the established “truths” of our current economic model. Mike has one of the best economics blogs around, Economics Unbound, so check it out. Bookmark it. In a world of economic uncertainty, this is one blog that can help you understand just what the heck is happening. Mike speaks at Parsons on April 13.

Mandel thinks we need a Global Central Bank. So do I. What about you?


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