In a Sept. 15 opinion piece for the Harvard Crimson, professor Shoshana Zuboff exhorts incoming and continuing Harvard students to reinvent capitalism. Describing the current state of capitalism as “disruptive,” Zuboff positions managerial capitalism and its “career taxidermy” head to head against a new capitalism that “leverages the individual uniqueness, social networks and distributed technologies of our times.” The essay contains some chilling statistics:
- 96 percent of consumers say they do not trust their HMO.
- 93 percent do not trust their health insurer.
- 88 percent do not trust their telecom provider.
- 60 percent say they mistrust their supermarket. (Their supermarket?)
- 96 percent of employees want more flexibility and control over their time.
- 73 percent say they are willing to curtail their careers to make more time for their families.
- 75 percent would like to change jobs within the coming year.
Last fall, Fast Company talked to Zuboff about the growing gap between people and the companies they work for, contending that sometimes, size is not a solid business strategy. In her book, The Support Economy, Zuboff writes, “Organizations have become increasingly remote and indifferent. Individuals want something that modern organizations cannot give them: tangible support in leading the lives they choose.”
Curious how Zuboff’s thinking about the support economy connects with Melinda Davis’ work in superbrands. How close are you to your customers? How do you help support their lives?