Capitalism 3.0

Are you drowning in books to be read? Sometimes I think that I am. Then while I am in the middle of the deep end of the pool, instead of a life buoy, another book comes skimming across the water. This time it was Peter Barnes’ book Capitalism 3.0 which is available both as in a Pdf file (licensed under Creative Commons naturally) and in the more comfortable paper variety.

After scanning through the pdf I ordered the book. Barnes’ argument is based on the idea that capitalism is flawed and needs to take the Commons into consideration. He takes a broad view of the commons which includes headings such as nature, community and culture. Based upon this view he attempts to draw together the diversity of our commons and connect it to the capitalist approach to business.


 The book is critical of the accesses of old capitalism (which Barnes calls Capitalism 2.0). But he is also a bit too positive to what capitalism has done well – but a good book must be one that you disagree with in parts. Barnes attempts to show that Capitalism 3.0 has a chance of alleviating some of the access of capitalism 2.0 and he ends his book on a positive note:

Capitalism 2.0 had its moments. It defeated communism, leveled national boundaries to trade, and brought material abundance never seen before. But its triumph was accompanied by huge unpaid bills, debts that are now coming due. Perhaps we ought to think of ourselves as a company in bankruptcy. We canâ??t pay all of our bills, but we can pay some, especially if we stretch the payments out. In some cases, we can compensate debt holders with equity. In any event, we need to reorganize our economy so, in the future, we donâ??t run up the same debts again. Thatâ??s what
Capitalism 3.0 would do.

But Capitalism 3.0 also has a higher purpose: to help both capitalism and the human species achieve their full potential. To do that, our economic machine must stop destroying the commons and start protecting it. At the same time, it must lift the bottom 95 percent of humans at a faster rate than it raises the top 5 percent. This requires more than compassionate rhetoric, or a few bandages around the edges. It requires an upgrade of our operating system.

You can either buy a copy of the book or, if you prefer it, download it from the Capitalism 3.0 website.

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