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Mutualist Blog: Free Market Anti-Capitalism

To dissolve, submerge, and cause to disappear the political or governmental system in the economic system by reducing, simplifying, decentralizing and suppressing, one after another, all the wheels of this great machine, which is called the Government or the State. --Proudhon, General Idea of the Revolution

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Location: Northwest Arkansas, United States

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Dave Pollard: The Changing Behavior of Organizations

These changes will be driven by:

* a shift in knowledge and power from suppliers to customers and end-consumers
* the failure of the 'blockbuster' model of product offerings (where all the profit comes from one or two smash hit products, often followed by cheap, mediocre 'sequels') as consumers catch on
* the availability through the Internet of almost infinite choice at modest cost
* an Internet culture that believes that software and content should be free to all
* the end of cheap oil, labour and other resources
* new, innovative competitors in many industries that won't need to be big to have a huge market impact, and which will be astonishingly prolific and agile (imagine a thousand Googles!)
* the wide-spread realization (thanks to interest rate spikes and a shrinking economy) that living beyond our needs is reckless and unsustainable
* a growing lack of trust in corporations, thanks to an ongoing litany of scandals

It's going to be fascinating to watch this evolution. For the Fortune 500 (and for their shareholders) it's likely to be bloody, a replay of the transformation that has seen huge organizations crumble and small upstarts soar past them over and over since the start of the Industrial Revolution. What's likely to be different this time, however, is that the new upstarts will not grow into megaliths, but will instead spin off divisions into hundreds of small, autonomous, ever-agile entrepreneurial companies.

The big corporations just don't get it. They don't understand why so many are outraged that we're sitting on intellectual and financial capital that could end disease and poverty on this planet, but we can't do so because it would be unacceptable to the handful of staggeringly rich families that control this capital. They don't understand why Google is giving so many of its brilliant and valuable new tools and content away free. They don't understand why eBay paid billions to buy Skype. They don't understand why so many 'respectable' people don't equate file-sharing, the modern equivalent of going to the library, as theft. They are still stuck in the same mentality that predicted the telephone would never catch on, or that the world only needed a handful of computers.


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