February 11, 2011
Jack Covert Selects: Jack Covert Selects - The New Capitalist Manifesto
While recognizing that “there’s no single, simple definition of capitalism,” Haque distills the current paradigm into five foundational cornerstones that are “so familiar to CEOs and clerks alike that they are invisible fixtures of everyday economic life:”
Value chain as the means of production, value proposition as the means of positioning, strategy as the means of competition, protecting marketplaces as the means of advantage, and inert, fixed goods as the means of consumption.Addressing what he sees as The Great Imbalance in that system, a system that “shifts costs and borrows benefits from people, communities, society, the natural world, or future generations” to appear profitable, he lays out a blueprint for a sustainable new foundation. He devotes a chapter to each of the traditional cornerstones and how to rebuild them, replacing “Value Chains” with “Value Cycles,” “Value Propositions” with “Value Conversations,” “Strategy” with “Philosophy,” “Protecting a Marketplace” with “Completing a Marketplace,” and “Goods” with “Betters”—all to build a new, Constructive Capitalism.
While the picture I’ve painted of the book so far may sound like pie-in-the-sky idealism, it has everything that you’d expect from a Harvard Business School title—solid research, insightful analysis and thoughtful conclusions. And while Haque’s language is by turns ominous and inspirational, his approach is entirely pragmatic, showing that Constructive Capitalists—big and small, old and new—have a competitive edge in the kind of value they are able to create, in both the short and long terms.
Haque also understands that this “manifesto” is not about him, but for the reader, writing in the preface that his “insights matter less than your vision, ambition, and passion.” And, most importantly, he has produced a wonderfully written book that helps readers become the change they want to see, declaring that “Though the pages that follow are filled with examples … I don’t want you to follow an example, but to be the example.”
About Dylan Schleicher
Dylan Schleicher has been a part of the 800-CEO-READ claque since 2003. Even though he's stayed on at the company, he has not stayed put. After beginning in shipping & receiving, he joined customer service and accounting before moving into his current, highly elliptical orbit of duties overseeing the ChangeThis and In the Books websites, the company's annual review of books and in-house design. He lives with his wife and two children in the Washington Heights neighborhood on Milwaukee's West Side.