Is this financial turmoil the birth pangs of a new business model?

I’m reading and hearing things that make me wonder.

Consider,  at one extreme, the occupy movements (I am not quite sure what they stand for or want, but it is pretty clear what they are against) and at the other end of the scale Professor Michael Porter’s work on Creating Shared Value and add into the mix the undercurrent from popular culture that could be encapsulated as “Big business = bad guys” you can make the case that the pressure is building on the existing “Survival of the fittest” capitalist model.

Reinforcing the pressure on this model is the movement towards philanthropy led by Bill Gates and Warren Buffet in the US and the on-going emergence of Social Entrepreneurs world-wide.

Further reinforcing the impression that the model is broken is the continuing controversy over high pay and the demands for excessive pay and bonuses to be constrained – although that seems to be more of a British obsession and I have not heard a similar level of complaint from the US.

Perhaps the starting point of the new model is to be found in finance (any model that is sustainable will have to have some means of supporting itself) and in particular in crowd funding where there is a many-to-one relationship between the funder(s) and the recipient of those funds. Contrast that to the traditional model, where the relationship is closer to one-to-one but the funder is significantly larger than the funded (think of a Bank lending to an SME as an example) and consequently has considerable leverage over the operations of the funded business.

Perhaps this is also a reflection of the internet age, where massive businesses are built almost overnight (by historical standards) and information, opinion and criticism is widely and rapidly shared.

Where does all this lead?


About timluscombe

Tim is a speaker and corporate finance advisor who takes complex issues and presents them in plain English. He's a partner in
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One Response to Is this financial turmoil the birth pangs of a new business model?

  1. timluscombe says:

    Interesting to hear Terry Smith this morning, commenting along much these same lines. I think many of us agree there are faults in the system. Terry’s remedy is for more capitalism, not less, for shareholders to take positive action, not sit back and complain. His view is that the government should “get out of the way” and allow the markets to work.

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