What kind of capitalism can we all believe in again? Perhaps one that believes making great things should replace consumption as an end in itself. “You won’t learn about it in business school, hear about it from Wall Street, or see it in Palo Alto. But if you spend time in Bushwick, Brooklyn, or on Rivington Street in Manhattan, you just might detect the outlines of an emerging “indie” capitalism. This new form of capitalism is not just about conventional startups and technology and venture capitalists. If you add up all the trends underway today, I believe we are beginning to see the start of something original, and perhaps wonderful. It may prove to be the economic and social antidote to the failed financial capitalism and crony capitalism that no longer delivers economic value in terms of jobs, income, and taxes to the people of this country”.
The key features of Indie capitalism are:
- It’s local, not global, and cares about the community and jobs and says so right up front. Good things come from and are made locally by people you can see and know
- It’s socially, not transactionally, based. It’s not just Internet social, involving 5,000 friends, but personally social
- It’s a maker system of economics based on creating new value, not trading old value. One that embraces all the strains of maker culture--food, indie music, DIY, craft, 3-D digital fabrication, bio-hacking, app enabling, CAD modeling, robotics, tinkering
- ‘Meaning’ is embedded in materials and products. The entire notion of brand is upended in indie capitalism, superseded by the community surrounding the creation of a product or service. Authenticity is the ‘brand’ in many cases.
It’s too early to judge the scale this tweak on capitalism might reach but it’s accelerating.