Should we be thinking about modern business in a completely different way?
Thirty years ago Baumol, and Robert Litan reviewed evidence suggested that the future of capitalism might belong to unproductive businesses, without benefitting society. With Unproductive entrepreneurs buy up rivals thriving like parasites on productive parts of society.
Graeber suggests business now is about jockeying for power and status and serves no economic function at all.
Why might slow productivity and low engagement not be a surprise?
In 2015 37% employees said their jobs did not make a meaningful contribution to the world. Graeber calls them bullshit jobs mostly in the professional services industry: human resources, PR, finance or banking, consulting or corporate law.
More Power maximisation ( of revenue not profits) rather than an authentic effort to solve human problems
Graeber notes companies such as Wework and Uber are a long way from true capitalism: more like classic feudalism.
They gain power over resources, and proliferate a lot of jobs that serve very little economic function,
These businesses only make sense from power and economic rent perspective, economic rent being the ability to drain value and resources from an economy.
For example Graeber reports a big 4 accounting firm manager intentionally mis training staff and saddling them with impossible work so their contract would be extended,
This creates a machine of extraction that syphons the funds between the intended recipients.
There was a classic 90s mantra the only people who make money out of IT are the It companies? Never been truer?
These companies can present skewed data to substantiate the case for draining value from businesses, fuelling fear driven tech obsession
This is contrary to Graeber’s analysis because this tech reduces a business profits but fuels the profit of and dependency on the parasitic tech cos.
For example this self-fulfilling slide suggests that the people should get training to avert their technophobia, rather than get back to basics.
Why should Trust in tech be implicit? If there are people and business / profit conflicts – then the strategy is flawed.
Pushing trust in tech as an objective is nonsense – people are not stupid!
People will actively sabotage meaningless efforts to put in changes that people don’t want.
The flotations of flawed businesses seem to go ahead fuelling the huge merchant banking and legal fees despite questionable fundamental business model viability of Wework and Uber whose valuations flopped since their flotations
Conversely Weswap avoided their IPO, instead since December focussing on sorting out their underlying business model increasing revenue by 30% and moving towards breakeven
Tech intermediator models, produce little economic value, but tap off profits typically 15% of revenue, and make the suppliers reliant on them.
Large corporations influence are beginning to usurp government influence and Xavier Gabaix has shown that the wealthiest individuals are skewing the playing field in their favour.
Financial engineering has hidden these risks dumping it on investors,
A 2012 review of financial markets funded by the UK Gov showed investment is senseless zero-sum activity, draining investment away from useful enterprise.
Disruption or the creation of business such as tech and professional services derive profits from economic rents on society, resources and useful enterprises.
So, there is a great opportunity to reverse this to create businesses that create real economic value, such creating as a semiconductor plant in the UK.
The challenge, however, is to unravel the fear-driven mantras and the link with the impact on profits and society.
Right now the UK Gov has set up a AI APPG to relentlessly drive the technology. This technology plays to all of the worst parasitic economic traits of the above reducing profits, reducing productivity, and increasing economic rent
So, there is a great a balanced industrial strategy to create meaningful businesses and technology that drive real economic value.
Winningthinking.uk enables teams to create a balanced strategy: increase profits, get the tech in perspective, achieve a breakthrough and how to stay on track.
This creates a business that people want to work in, with meaningful work, increases productivity, that creates a sustainable society, and reduces consumption and exploitation of resources.
Less with more profit
Work – consumption model, creating real threats – fuelled by more
The difficulty is that people don’t see the threat form technology, how it diminishes our forward planning, decision making and nor most understand what drives us!
So we are slipping out of control, with machines getting to know us better than ourselves
For example, at its core level, Retail turnaround and profitability is largely driven knowledge able staff and locally sourced products, not a convenience and frictionless experience
Is there such a thing as cherish vs chore shopping, shouldn’t the experience of either be great with a great human – human interaction
People speaking to each other key to maintaining relationships as well as reducing polarisation. Any tech that induces dopamine and Brown suggests should NOT be done.
These are real threats: loss in value in work, sustainability so it makes sense to reach this balance, you can’t hide tech cos are easy to switch from and there is 100% visibility on social media.
The global impact China business is 100% fuelled by control and growing profitless growth models that are impossible to compete with. Alibaba is listed in HK and the USA and is far more sophisticated than Amazon and plans more disruptive.
In the meantime, our options are reducing, because our tech dependence and addiction is increasing, and we are losing sight of the macro impact made up of the micro tech initiatives on our wellbeing work, sustainability and profits.
If technology companies can keep people blindsided and in a tech stupor, we have little chance of staying in control.
People are not stupid! But we are losing our ability to stay ahead?
Winningthinking enables teams to get strategies back on track by realigning actions with the challenge: enduring profits, sustainability and relationships.