Capitalism and its next phase

An interesting conversation is developing about how current trends will affect our overall economic framework. The first shot was fired by Paul mason for the Guardian, where he argued that capitalism as we know is dying. Steve Denning, writing for Forbes, thinks this is an overstatement.

The two disagree on some things, but not on a basic idea – there is a huge pwer shift underway. The old dinosaurs of the 20th century with command and control institutional hierarchies will die out. They will be replaced by something more flexible and more creative.  I agree.

This has implications for firm organization and strategy. It will impact how younger folks develop their ideas about career as well. And we are just getting started.

A key thought — if you look at the trend from 19th to 20th century, work got easier. Humans could leverage their physical and mental capacities with machines.  This is the longer term path we are likely to continue following in the 21st century. Refinements in machines will make work even easier. This frees up human capacity to do other things. Denning is right – that will not be just to take more vacation. It is more likely to think more carefully about what value added stuff we want to create. As we do this, we will get better contorl over our future as a species. Yes, i am an optimist.

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