A Summary of The New Capitalist Manifesto

After seeing the launch of COMMON, I decided to pick up Umair Haque’s “The New Capitalist Manifesto”.  In the book, Haque, an economic strategist by trade, lays out a vision for how capitalism must evolve to meet current & future economic challenges.  No longer can businesses subscribe to Industrial Age paradigms built around short term profits earnings.  He argues that instead the successful brands of tomorrow will orient their entire infrastructure and business model around enhancing human well-being.  Corporate leaders will be wholly responsible for the tertiary effects of their company’s actions.  Businesses will be evaluated based on long-term value creation, rather than short term profits.  Brands will no longer be built with astronomical marketing budgets, but will instead be constructed by the participants who benefit from their use.  This set of values, when executed appropriately, will guarantee businesses a rightful place in the 21st century marketplace.

Haque, after addressing the “need”, moves on to describe the institutional and organizational qualities that businesses must embody to be successful in tomorrow’s world.  These qualities are:

  1. Shifting from finite value chains to value cycles when addressing how production, consumption and exchange occur.  Interface is a long way towards figuring this out
  2. Evolving from value propositions to value conversations.  Essentially, this is referring to the ability of a business to respond rapidly to changing desires and trends within the marketplace.  Threadless is the best example of a company employing this thinking
  3. Switching from business strategies to business philosophies that revolve around value creation and force businesses to innovate rapidly.  Google proves its mastery of this pillar with the mantra: “Disrupt yourself before someone else comes along and does it”
  4. Growing from marketplace protection to marketplace completion.  Essentially, creating new economic industries, categories and segments in low cost, high need markets.  Think: Tata Motors and their ultra-low cost car for developing markets
  5. Evolving from producing goods to producing “betters”, which make a tangible difference in the happiness and well-being of individuals and communities.  Think: Nike+

Many brands are already on this path, including Wal-Mart, Nike, Apple, Threadless, Tata, Google, etc. and Haque presents them in the form of helpful case studies throughout the book.

Originally, I had intended to dive into what Capitalism 2.0 means for the marketing and advertising agency, but in the interest of brevity, I’ll follow this up with a secondary post that hits more on my specific opinions.  If you’re in business you need to read this book.  I’m not saying everything in here is completely spot on, but it provides some crucial insights that will need to be baked into the 21st century business model.


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