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Marker
Pop business for the intelligent reader. A publication from Medium.

Capitalism

In Marker. More on Medium.

Good enough is, by definition, good enough.

NOTE: Within this text, wherever gender is not key to the explanation, I am using the Elverson ey/em construction of the Spivak Pronouns.

Photo by Daniel McCullough on Unsplash

In the middle of the Twentieth Century, innovative industries went to great lengths in order to retain their employees for the duration of their working life. Companies like IBM, Ford Motor Company, Honeywell and Lockheed saw employee retention as paramount to their success. In order to promote this goal, these companies offered amenities like health insurance and bonuses, of course, but, we know that they sought long-term employee retention because of another benefit: the now-extinct pension. …


The Nike sneaker-buying experience has been brutal for years. When will fans get too fed up to keep supporting the brand?

Photo: GOAT

The demise of Blockbuster Video lives in my head rent-free. It’s the perfect parable about America’s brand of capitalism and what happens when people are given a choice that frees them from greed. Sort of.

Blockbuster thrived in the late ’80s and early ’90s because it scaled explosively, opening new stores and buying out competitors; in many places, it was the only way people could watch new movies that were just out of theaters. It leveraged its near-monopoly in predatory ways, charging people exorbitant late fees for movie rentals and even damaging people’s credit scores for not being able to…


An exclusive excerpt from Scott Galloway’s new book, ‘Post Corona’

Newspaper headline “Bailout Plan” stacked on top of a $100 US bill.
Newspaper headline “Bailout Plan” stacked on top of a $100 US bill.
Photo: LilliDay/E+/Getty Images

The logical alternative to capitalism is socialism, and on its face, there is a lot to like. Socialism is rooted in altruism and humanism; it seeks to build up community rather than the atomized individual. These are noble goals. But the sacrifice in productivity is immense, especially with the compounding effects of time. Capitalism creates dramatically many more spoils, so any of those noble goals have more to work with.

The toxic cocktail, however, is to combine the worst of both systems. For the last 40 years, we’ve been doing this in the United States. We have capitalism on the…


An aging population, a trade war, and now a pandemic have left the Chinese working class reeling

A woman worker assembles earphones for export in a factory in Suining in southwest China’s Sichuan province on Dec. 17, 2019.
A woman worker assembles earphones for export in a factory in Suining in southwest China’s Sichuan province on Dec. 17, 2019.
Photo: Feature China/Barcroft Media/Getty Images

On March 2, the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) released a report entitled “Coronavirus: The World Economy at Risk.” The report is heavily focused on China and how the country’s projected slow growth of under 5%, due to stagnating industrial production and consumer demand — and the outbreak of the new coronavirus — will have a ripple effect on the rest of the world. Thanks to these factors and the ongoing tariff war, U.S. …


Consumers are increasingly skeptical of traditional businesses and looking for alternatives to exploitative or destructive practices

Tech workers and others arrive as Amazon Employees for Climate Justice lead a walkout and rally at the company’s headquarters
Tech workers and others arrive as Amazon Employees for Climate Justice lead a walkout and rally at the company’s headquarters
Photo: Jason Redmond/AFP/Getty Images

In the process of creating stuff people want to buy, businesses also create a vast medley of byproducts and aftereffects that are decidedly less good. They add to what feels like a pretty depressing state of affairs: the climate crisis is reaching intimidating, unprecedented heights, millions of people suffer daily from environmental health risks around the world, mental health issues are driving a steady uptick in suicide rates, obesity is on the rise, inhumane working conditions have been normalized for a nontrivial portion of the population, and so on.

It’s clear that something’s got to give. And I believe we…


On his passing, a look at the business and religious leader’s legacy of innovation and insight

Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

On January 23, 2020, the investor, Harvard Business School professor, and religious leader Clayton Christensen passed away. I was and am an enormous fan of Clayton Christensen and his work. He had a clarity of thought and a way of storytelling which made not only compelling listening but helped spark insight.

Here is a great, lesser-known example of his wisdom which has often led me to pause and think:

Here, Christensen makes two provocative and interesting points:

  1. He argues that without an instinct for following the rules (which have often come from Western religious traditions) and honesty, then capitalism…


New books examine capitalism-gone-wrong and whether Silicon Valley is too big to fail

Photo: Pacific Press/Getty

The atmosphere for Big Tech could hardly be worse: Two years into a plunge in public favor, the companies are threatened with higher taxes, regulation, a breakup, and strict new geopolitical borders in which they can operate. If one or more of these punishments actually materialize, they are in for a huge financial hit... and so are their shareholders.

But they have brought it on themselves, morphing from cool tech inventors that gave us ways to find friends and search for low fares into surveillance companies that manipulate, package, and sell our behavior, and undermine trust in capitalism and democracy.


We’re getting more efficient about resource use because of, not in spite of, the world’s dominant economic system

Illustration: Jackson Gibbs

Capitalism and technological progress are driving dematerialization.

This statement will come as a surprise to many, and for good reason. After all, it’s exactly this combination that caused us to massively increase our resource consumption throughout the Industrial Era. Through most of history, capitalism and tech progress have always lead to more from more: more economic growth, but also more resource consumption.

So what has changed? How are capitalism and tech progress now getting us more from less? To get answers to these important questions, let’s start by looking at a few recent examples of dematerialization.

Fertile farms

America has long been…

Marker

Pop business for the intelligent reader. A publication from Medium.

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