Collaboratism: Human-Centered Commerce

I believe capitalism must be improved upon.  A new system can transcend and include capitalism.  I call this new system Collaboratism.  Here’s how it stacks up against capitalism.



Profits first People first
Competition over collaboration Collaboration over competition
Outputs over outcomes Outcomes over outputs
Constant growth Constant balance
Resource consumption Resource maximization
Focus on wealth Focus on wellness
Earning income Providing service


In a recent public talk, I proposed that American culture is on the precipice of an economic evolution that will transcend and include capitalism.  I asked the audience to imagine an economy based in human-centered commerce where outcomes are preferred over outputs and people are considered before profits.

My stance that we can improve and transcend capitalism is usually well received, but folks who are on vigilant guard against anything that sounds like socialism can get confused by the language.  Collaboratism is not socialism.  It is not based on social ownership.  It continues to leverage the private ownership of capitalism, but rewards owners with economic profits who best provide for human outcomes.  Those that do good, do well.

“People need jobs to make money and businesses create those jobs in pursuit of profit,” said one conservative fellow at my talk. This same guy would have argued in the 12th century that the serfs are unable to care for themselves without the charity of the noble class.  And yet feudalism was transcended by mercantilism which was further transcended by capitalism.  Economic systems do evolve and arguably to the betterment of society.

Capitalism has run its course.  While it has provided great benefits, including the luxury to reflect on how it can be transcended, capitalism’s doctrine of constant growth fueled by resource consumption is causing systemic problems.  Big issues like poverty, healthcare, and resource depletion, can be vastly improved by evolving our economic system. Much of those problems are caused by capitalism itself.

Capitalism has reached a critical mass and is about to implode on itself.  But we can avoid that impending crisis by taking some simple steps to transform capitalism right now.  As a start, we as consumers can vote with our dollars by supporting companies that show they are as interested in people as they are profits.  Equally, companies that put profits ahead of people should not get our attention or money.  This what my friend Salah Boukadoum calls ‘impact shopping’.

I’ll be detailing more simple steps that both individuals and businesses can take to usher in the age of Collaboratism in my upcoming book, ‘The Good Economy’ and in future blog posts.