The millennium has seen new and innovative business models pop up like Dutch tulips in April. With a greater democratization of business resources anyone with an idea can launch a business venture these days—and depending on how good the idea is, Mark Zuckerberg type success might greet you. As the Internet exponentially multiplies these opportunities, so do the ideas and proponents of new business models. Despite the excitement of constantly living on the cusp of new possibilities and either better (or worse) ways to live and do business in this world, if you take the time and effort to grapple with some of these ideas you might feel that we’re heading in a million directions and that everything is changing; ergo we aren’t going anywhere and nothing is changing. To counter this phenomenon I believe tools and figures who can discern important information and valuable voices will become more and more integral to a healthy survival and betterment of our cultures and values.
Umair Haque happens to be one of these figures with a bright mind who doesn’t just contribute to the ceaseless driveling of the latest and greatest developments, but rigorously grapples with the background stories, ideologies and processes at play in our age. His ideas which he has collected in his both earnestly and ironically titled book “The New Capitalist Manifesto” confronts corporations who are repackaging Industrial Revolution thinking for the Facebook era—the Disney Company for example (http://www.bubblegeneration.com/2011/02/disney-baby-how-to-create-thin-value.html), will be targeting newborns with cutthroat strategies, capitalizing on the moment of birth by having a bilingual Disney representative provide the baby with a trademarked Disney onesie as they can access them, pressuring the mothers to sign up for their Disney email alerts that should guide the newborn into childhood and then adulthood. Large megalomaniac outfits such as Disney and McDonald’s have been state sanctioned and supported according to Haque because they have never had to compensate for their negative impact on our environments evidenced by obesity and environmentally unfriendly practices. These are the old capitalists who have been living off the fat of the land on the plushy cushions of government bailouts.
The new capitalists like Nike and Unilever have taken a more holistic approach to their production and marketing campaigns, looking to renew their resources to ensure a more enduring business model that won’t run out of its revenue sources, guaranteeing long term advantages and values as the competition is gets wiser with every wikipedia entry. The most characteristic feature of these ventures is their invitation of the public to benefit to a humanitarian or ecological cause while partnering in business transactions.
Haque writes regularly for the Harvard Business Review as well as for his own blog www.bubblegeneration.com.