Indie in capitalism independance, networking and creation of new products this next decade will drive these due to change being required. Aivars Lode
Efficient market theory has fostered an economic system that, over the past two decades, has generated little innovation among most companies, weakened the middle class, widened inequality, and led to the relative decline of the United States. We need to trade in an economics of efficiency for an economics of creativity. We should be moving away from a model of economics based on the “culture of control” toward a new model that embraces a “culture of chance.”
Which presents the question: What do we need instead? What model can replace financial capitalism?
We’re beginning to see evidence of what I call Indie Capitalism. My use of the word “indie” is deliberate. “Indie” reflects an economy that is independent of the prevailing orthodoxies of economic theory and big business. It shares many of the distributive and social structures of the independent music scene, which shuns big promoters and labels. And as happens with many bands, so many of today’s successful creative endeavors began as local phenomena before branching out to new locations and networks.
Indie Capitalism is bolstered by a single, simple fact: New companies (those less than five years old) have been responsible for all the net new jobs in the United States for the past three decades. We celebrate the entrepreneur (including those within corporations who behave like entrepreneurs) because we value the entrepreneur’s creativity. It is that creativity that we need to make central to our economy and to our economic thinking.
But pivoting from creativity to creation requires scale. That scale comes in two forms—capital and markets. Creators by themselves usually don’t have access to capital or markets.
Crowdfunding is another means of vastly increasing the number of new businesses, allowing entrepreneurs to circumvent the venture capital hierarchy and giving us all a chance to participate directly in the formation and scaling of startups. Capitalism is not solely a market phenomenon; it exists within a social context. Capitalism is a social movement. Social networks are the basic building blocks of the economy.
Kickstarter for example changed what it means to be a creator and a capitalist, a maker and a patron. It is a site, and a community, that makes us all potential participants in the process of creation and gives us all the potential to become entrepreneurs. On one level, Chen, Strickler, and Adler built a crowdfunding model. On another, they developed a crowd-building site, as Kickstarter not only raises funding but also creates an audience — and a uniquely invested audience, at that. The experience is not a simple transaction like buying a work of art at a gallery or an album off iTunes. It’s deeper and richer.
Markets will continue to play a critical role in Indie Capitalism, but the blurring of distinction between creators, curators, funders, and consumers will make it less transactional. People will participate more directly in every step of creation, using social media and making their own choices about the design, financing, and consuming of the products, services, and experiences they want. They will extend their “playlist skills” beyond their music collections and to the entire spectrum of business, health care, education, and eventually politics.
If Indie Capitalism were to have a single foundational principle, it would be this: Creativity drives capitalism. Creativity is the source of economic value. Creativity transforms what money can’t buy into what money can buy.