Posts Tagged ‘Co-op Capitalism’

Noreena lays out her vision of Co-op Capitalism in a discussion with Danny Finkelstein on the future of capitalism, BBC Newsnight, 26 August 2011.

Help the homeless, give free hugs or simply be nice — a wave of generosity is sweeping the country

By Jessica Brinton
Published: 29 November 2009

Cargo nightclub, Shoreditch, Saturday night. The MC on stage is wearing stretchy leggings, a tiny camisole, and holding a mike. “I turned 40, you know…” Dance, dance. Well, she looks 15. “And I was worrying about success…” Dance, dance. “And for a long time, it bothered me. How could I be more successful?” Dance, dance. “And I worked it out. You’ve just gotta keep giving!” She throws her arms in the air. “Because it’s the only way.” She spins around. “And if you do, if you really do…” She pauses for effect, hands cupped in front of her. “It’ll all come back to you!” And the crowd erupts. Everyone cheers, everyone hugs each other.

Two years ago, such a declaration might have cleared the dancefloor. There was something mawkishly earnest about this sort of chat, like you were out of touch, a bit of a hippie. Or didn’t have any friends. Now it’s different. Since the – you know, events of the past year – things have changed. We’ve changed. It’s suddenly rather sexy to be kind.

Consider the evidence. Kate Moss tells Women’s Wear Daily – with astounding disingenuousness, admittedly – “I’m not traditionally a beauty, but apparently people think I’m all right. If you’re a nice person, it definitely helps.”

Everyone who watches The September Issue, the documentary about American Vogue, falls madly in love with the creative director, Grace Coddington, the warm, romantic one, not Anna Wintour, the more powerful but cold one.

Tina Brown, Wintour’s longtime rival, launches a philanthropy section on her online news zine, The Daily Beast; Giving Beast documents “Hollywood’s hottest causes”. The latest: Emma Thompson leading the charge on human sex trafficking, and even a picture gallery of stars “speaking out” on the issue. Earlier this month, Toby Ord, a philosopher at Oxford University, announced that he is pledging a third of his £30,000 salary to charity this year, and will give away 10% for the rest of his working life.

What really did it for me, though, was Victoria Beckham in last week’s Hello!, doing charity work in Kentucky in America, accompanied by her eldest son. “We are incredibly proud that Brooklyn is growing up to be a thoughtful and responsible young man,” says Posh, looking very proud. “Someone who appreciates he has a blessed life and wants to understand and help those who have less than himself.”

We are, it seems, at the end of a grand experiment that tested self-interest as a method of ruling the world – the economist Noreena Hertz is calling it “the death of Gucci capitalism”. And this is our response to it: Barnado’s has seen a 12% increase in volunteers since last April, and by 17% among the under-25s, while 10:10, the climate-change campaign group, has signed more than 50,000 individuals and businesses to the cause. Last year 5,500 companies filed corporate social responsibility reports, proving that installing a CSR wing is becoming standard practice in the business world.

“The world went mental for a while,” says Ben Elliot, founder of the concierge service Quintessentially, who, two months ago, opened Q Soho at House of St Barnabas, a not-for-profit members’ club in a former women’s refuge. It was revamped using the favours of friends and is staffed by homeless people on a custom-designed life-skills programme.

“It was a tsunami of wealth creation. Everything seemed available to all, for a time,” he says. “Now it looks like it wasn’t, actually. The lifestyles our parents never imagined we’d have didn’t exist after all. People are beginning to derive far more satisfaction from helping people rather than making money. There’s a brilliant redress happening.”

Eugenie Harvey of 10:10 agrees. “There’s no doubt in my mind that kindness is the new currency,” she says. “As life becomes tougher, which I’m afraid it’s going to do, being generous to your fellow man will keep the world afloat.”

In August last year, a group of twentysomethings launched The Kindness Offensive, a social experiment designed to “do good in the world, have fun doing good, and be seen to have fun doing good”. It began on Hampstead Heath, where the group approached people walking their dogs and asked if there was anything at all they could do for them. Someone suggested a box of chocolates for their grandmother, who had a sweet tooth, another asked for a birthday party for a little girl. They pulled off these kind-hearted acts by begging favours from companies. The companies responded. The thing snowballed. Last October, an articulated lorry containing 25 tons of food arrived from General Mills, the world’s sixth largest food producer, and the group used it to feed 75,000 people all over London. It’s goose-bump-making stuff.

“On paper, it doesn’t add up that someone at General Mills should have done that,” says the group’s co-founder David Goodfellow (yes, really). “But the paper version of the world is different from the real world. To make sense of it, you have to feel how it feels to be nice to someone.”

‘Dr Noreena Hertz, an Associate Director of CIBAM at Judge Business School in Cambridge tells Boni Sones why she thinks we are about to move from an era of “Gucci” capitalism to a new one of “co-operative capitalism” and how women and families will benefit.’

Listen to the podcast on the Judge Business School, University of Cambridge website

See also Women’s Parliamentary Radio ( for the same podcast on Women and the recession (23/09/2010: 5th in Top Ten most downloaded podcasts)

Hertz – From Gucci to Co-op Capitalism

February 23rd, 2009 by admin

The Daily Beast: ‘The New Co-op Capitalism’

The first full crisis of globalization means the start of a kinder, more selfless economic system.

By Noreena Hertz
Published: 23rd February 2009

There are some who say this current global financial recession, this recession/depression that is being felt in London and New York, in Shanghai and Sao Paolo, will not have an impact on the nature of capitalism. That five years from now, well, capitalism will basically look like it did six months ago.

I understand this caution about predicting anything new, a reluctance to call the past era one of capitalism’s demise. But I do not agree with it. I believe the conditions are in place for a markedly different economic model to emerge from the carnage this economic crisis has wrought.

For what we are seeing today is not just a variant of the Russian crisis, the dot-com crisis, the Japanese crisis. This first full crisis of globalization, this first collective lose-lose, this first blue- and white- and multicolor-collared recession is so profound, is going to negatively affect so many people all over the world, is so obviously a manifestation of what happens when private institutions are allowed to put their profits before all else, and is so obviously linked to the flawed doctrine of the past 30 years, that to navigate it successfully will, I believe, demand a different operating environment.

I have named the past era of capitalism, Gucci Capitalism. It was an ideology born in the mid-1980s—the love child of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher, with Milton Friedman its fairy godfather and Bernard Madoff its poster boy. An era whose fundamental assumptions were markets should be left to self-regulate, governments should be laissez-faire, and human beings are nothing more than rational utility maximizers. A time when a conspiracy of marketers, credit-card companies, banks, and advertisers fueled a particular narrative—that it was less shameful to be in debt than not to have the latest pair of Nike sneakers or Gucci handbag.

Read the rest of the article on the Daily Beast website

Noreena on Cooperation in ‘Nature’

February 19th, 2009 by admin

Nature 457, 962-963 : ‘Recession Watch: Cooperation Must Rule’

Published: 19th February 2009

Navigating an unpredictable world will need different research disciplines to work together as equals, says Noreena Hertz.

We are witnessing the coming home to roost of the era of ‘Gucci capitalism’. An era, born of the mid-1980s, that failed to question the market’s ability to self-regulate and tilted the balance of power between corporations and society firmly in the favour of businesses. An era that deified self-interest and greed. It precipitated a global recession that will last until at least mid-2010, and triggered a new socio-political environment that presents a very different playing field for business. We are now in the era of ‘co-op capitalism’, where cooperation rather than selfish behaviour will rule.

To understand co-op capitalism requires an understanding of socioeconomic, political, psychological, historical and legal trends. And so it will bring work of often-sidelined researchers into the mainstream. Traditional business forecasts have usually ignored such ‘soft’ knowledge. But with the entire political and economic system in a state of flux, companies would be well-minded to monitor Internet campaigns, track media concerns, and search for historical parallels. When an economic trajectory is constant, such data might be considered incidental. When we don’t even know what trajectory we are on it becomes essential…

To read the rest of the interview, view the PDF in Nature: Recession Watch: Cooperation Must Rule.