Since the credit crunch started the phrase 'New Capitalism' has appeared with increasing frequency from the mouths of journalists, pundits and politicians. What does it mean? What are the implications of 'new capitalism' for ki workers?
From my research all I can say is 'new capitalism' is best defined as 'old capitalism'. Yep. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss, as Pete Townsend wrote.
I'm sorry, but when three such enthusiastic supporters of unfettered free markets are suddenly converted to 'new capitalism' it brings out the skeptic in me. (And I should add all the views expressed are my own and are not necessarily those of ki work.)
Out of gas
These politicians sound too much like the board of a car company trying to get another year's sales out of an aging model. So they add some chrome, different shaped headlamps and an upgraded stereo system. Now it's 'new'. But under the chrome it's the same old gas-guzzling, inefficient, outmoded vehicle.
'New capitalism' is a way of describing the desperate measures that are being applied to keep the sinking globalized economy afloat. The fond hope of Merkel, Sarkozy and that English bloke is that sufficient patches can be applied to the ship of market capitalism so that it will appear to sail as well as it did a year or so ago. Of course, there's no chance of that.
Their form of 'new capitalism' has as much chance of success as Mikhail Gorbachev's new communism a couple of decades ago.
As politicians they do have an impossible task. They cannot say what everybody else knows. We have no idea what is going to happen to the global economy. Change is the only certainty.
That's why I'm so enthusiastic about ki work and believe me I'm not one of nature's natural evangelists. I'm at heart a cynical old hack ready to see the worst in most things. But I do see the future of my livelihood is through flexibility, adaptability and low capital outlay.
We may not know where the economic system is heading, but we can see some of the forces shaping it. I've been impressed by the work of Harvard's Umair Haque, Director of the Havas Media Lab. He talks of the change from symmetric to asymmetric competition. To over-simplify, capitalism used to revolve around competition between corporate behemoths. Think General Motors versus Ford. Brands such as Coca-Cola took decades to build. Then along comes Google, achieving its position of power and brand with next to no marketing and without attempting to destroy its competition.
I'm slightly disappointed that he chose Google as an example, not that it's inaccurate, but it is another corporation even if it has a very different structure and philosophy compared with its predecessors. Far more interesting to me is the way small businesses can now successfully challenge and beat the big guys.
The strength of the old corporations lay in their size. Now that's what holds them back. Encumbered by debt, real estate and old working practices, they cannot compete with adaptable, flexible and relatively debt-free small businesses.
Join the revolution
That's where ki work comes in. A team of professionals each working from home, linked to colleagues anywhere in the world via the internet, has negligible overheads. As a result they can beat conventional bricks-and-mortar companies on both quality and cost.
Visit ki work's main site and see how you can use our online marketplace to fulfill your project requirements or create your own virtual business as a ki worker.
New year's the time for 'experts' to make predictions. They're all pretty gloomy. There's no debate as to whether the cup's half full or half empty. Instead optimists hope for a refill in 2010 while pessimists or, perhaps, realists expect a longer wait. That probably makes 'sobriety' one of the key words for 2009.
Fortunately ki work offers a home-brew alternative to fill your own (virtual) glass or better to share a pitcher. Who wants to work (or drink) alone? The good news is ki work's collaborative, work-sharing, guerrilla outsourcing model is finding friends everywhere, even if they don't know it yet.
The leading HR magazine and website Workforce Management lists 60 top predictions, most of which are in total accord with the ki work model. In fact there's so little to contradict the ki work philosophy that it makes my job hard.
Normally I'd point readers to some small nuggets that back up my argument. This time I can only recommend you read the whole article. Believe me, it's fascinating.
Indeed, the one key prediction that writer Ed Frauenheim picks out to introduce the article is: "There will be more emphasis on collaboration and using technology to support it." Well, of course.
"The concept of offshoring will cease to exist. Talent will exist globally and companies will go where the talent is. The purpose will not be to get the lowest-cost labor, but rather the highest-quality talent."
There are a couple of key points where I think the article is fundamentally wrong because it assumes most conventional business organizations will be agile enough to cope with the seismic changes that are taking place. I believe that most current business models will prove unsustainable. (But then if I was writing an article for HR professionals I'm not sure if I'd want to be the one to tell them their profession was on the verge of being swept aside by the tide of history.)
My other disagreement with the Workforce Management article is it's postulating these changes ten years away in 2018. The dramatic shifts in the way we work are going to happen an awful lot sooner than that. Sign up free for ki work and see how you can be part of the work revolution.