Noreena on Cooperation in ‘Nature’

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.