The Ethical Economy vs. Neoliberalism

Does the future of a country depend on competition, or rather on cooperation?

The first view is represented by a recent Danish commission’s report, Globaliseringsradet ; the second is represented by an excellent critique and provisional counter-report by Adam Arviddson and the Kesera group.

What is wrong with the neoliberal view?

– it focuses on attracting individual talent, and ignores how to nurture networked distributed intelligence

– it still thinks that creativity is stimulated by competion, which might be true in a material environment based on scarcity, but misses the point in a knowledge economy, where sharing increases productivity

-Â it assumes that people are naturally lazy and need to be activitated, and completely ignores the evidence from peer production

– it assumes the future is predictable and can be planned by experts; it wants to hyperspecialize universities instead of fostering an adaptive and flexible openness to the unpredictable

– it is based on the fear of others

As Kesera argues in their blog: “GlobaliseringsrÃ¥det represent a neo-liberal model that stresses competition and private property. But this model has already been surpassed by the real development of the productive forces. It is continuously disproved by new applications like Skype, Google, Wikis or the Open Source and P2P movements; by the creativity of ‘underground’ subcultures and, not least by the present craze about ‘user led innovation’. All of these examples present cases in which the creation of value instead builds on sharing, social utility and cooperation. If Denmark really wants to achieve a creative take-off (and not just protect the interests of entrenched institutions and actors) it should embrace this new model and learn form what is cutting-edge today. Neo-liberalism is no longer the way forward, the ethical economy is.”

For more info about this topic, see the Actics blog or check out Mr. Arvidsson’s book about Brands. It is one of the very few books which successfully marries an inside understanding of contemporary business (logic of corporations), with deep knowledge of the inner logic of cognitive capitalism as a system.

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