Circa un anno fa in Italia il discorso sulla sharing economy si è agganciato al discorso sulla social innovation (CheFuturo tag “sharing economy”) e in meno di un anno è diventato mediaticamente prevalente rispetto a quest’ultimo. Pochi mesi prima The Economist ne sanciva a livello internazionale la rilevanza economica e politica (The rise of the sharing economy). Pochi mesi dopo sempre The Economist ha rafforzato ancora di più quel discorso con un articolo sulle piattaforme (Platforms. Something to stand on).
Da quel momento in poi in Italia l’accelerazione del discorso sulla sharing economy è stata impressionante. La diffusione di piattaforme globali come Uber, BlaBlaCar, Airbnb,… e il lancio di molte startup che tentano a disintermediare il rapporto tra domanda e offerta di beni e servizi hanno reso ancora più importante il tema. Continue reading
A few days ago Evgeny Morozov wrote a nice article about the relationship between the political left and the new watchwords of capitalism: innovation, start-ups, co-working , makers, creative class… and many other are treated by the left as solutions to the economic crisis.
The left, like a teenager , fell in love with a few concepts that identifies as a solution to unemployment, economic stagnation, the decreasing demand. My point of view, however , what is missing to the left is the analysis of the causes of this situation. Without this analysis, how do we know if the solutions are really the right ones? There is nothing wrong with trial and error method… but if we can adopt a critical approach we could spare us a few tries.
We depart from Italy. Two days ago, ISTAT published data on the labor market: Unemployment at 13% , a record since 1977, +8000 in a month and +272000 in a year. Young at 42.3% . Really much.
It is impossible to imagine that the increase in labor productivity is’nt one of the causes. Without looking too far, I think about my job: I can do now in a week the same job that a time I would take a month. I have access to an impressive quantity of data; I use more than 4 instruments at the same time to maintain relationships with colleagues, customers and suppliers; I write and photocopy in three days an impressive number of pages…
If productivity in some sectors has grown so much, also increased its ability to generate richness. Where is it deposited this wealth? Certainly not in the welfare state if it’s continually cut. The indices on the international distribution of richness give us an answer so simple as shocking. Italy is among the countries with the most unequal distribution of income, after only to the United Kingdom in the European Union and with levels of inequality than the average of OECD countries. The system of the Italian welfare state, as has recently reminded the newspaper pagina99, favors the rich more than the poor. In fact are entirely absent policies of redistribution of richness between generations, between classes, between geographical origins. Leaving the system without any rules redistribution becomes concentration that is extremely functional with the accumulation of capital in a period of economic transformation (relational capitalism).
But without distribution you die! So if we want to support the distribution processes, we cannot limit ourselves to program small one-off interventions. What is needed is a ‘choice of sides’, built in a critical and timely way.
The social enterprise may be the main actor in this process. The system of values, orientation, impact and democratic are perfect for combining production and redistribution. When social enterprises will be able to get out of the public-private bias and to include new actors and new products in the welfare state system all their work will be even more oriented to equity.
At this stage, however , the pressures to loosen the bonds of no-distribution of profits and the new love with impact finance are likely to weaken the redistributive vocation of the social enterprises. Really they need it? Their competitive advantage, that is necessary to operate in this capitalist system, is their propensity to develop the economies of knowledge, collaboration and redistribution. It seems to me they already have three good reasons to choose to cooperate! Continue reading