The End of (Economic) Capitalism

Whether you call it the Knowledge Economy or the Post-Industrial Age, the consequences of the take-over by human talent from the production factor capital and the capital- supplier of the critical and dominating role in the production of goods and services, intrigued Arie no end. He postulated that it should lead to a complete change in management style, organisational structures and even the language in which we talk about business and companies. The first publication on this theme appeared in the Washington Quarterly in 1998:

The Living Company: A  Recipe for Success -  The Washington Quarterly, vol. 21, nr. 1  -  Winter 1998  -  MIT Press Journals - /usr/library/documents/main/washingtonquarterly.pdf -  (English)

and a Dutch translation was published in the Netherlands:-
Zakelijk Succes in de Nieuwe Economie  -  Nijenrode Management Review, nr. 13  -  Nov/Dec1998 - Nijpress bv  -   ISSN 1386-3347

A growing suspicion that failure to introduce the necessary changes in management style and organisational structures could well have serious consequences for the business sector as a whole in society resulted in a number of interviews and published articles, such as

An interview with Arie de Geus - Strategy Business, issue 23 2nd quarter 2001 - Booz-Allen & Hamilton  -  -  (English)

Spotlight on Arie de Geus - Measuring Business Excellence, Vol.5 no.4, 4th quarter 2001 - MCB University Press - (English) 


Iedere Avond Loopt het Kapitaal de Deur Uit - Financieel Dagblad 28 September 2001 -  -  (Dutch)

We, the Company  -  Financial Review BOSS - 9 September 2001 - AFR BOSS magazine

Beware: Innovation Kills!   -  Leading for Innovation  - August 2001  - The Peter F. Drucker Foundation  -  ISBN 0-7879-5359-8

Het Nieuwe Kapitaal: Menselijk Talent!  -  IcT manager, nr. 8juni 2002 - VWB Media -  - (Dutch)

It is interesting that, presently, these themes are beginning to creep into public debate and the serious press. The fact that capital may well be not such a critical factor anymore has led the Governor and the Deputy-Governor of the Bank of England to muse in public about the unusually low level of long-term interest rates and the high rates of saving worldwide:

(See The Financial Times 16 January 2006 and a survey in the Economist of September 24 2005 -  "The great thrift shift".)

Apart from low interest rates, another of the consequences of abundant and cheap capital is to bid up the market value of companies with few capital assets but a lot of human talent. This makes take-overs, mergers and overt predatory behaviour so easy and destructive that it has also started to hit the press

(See The Times Friday January 27 2006 page 59 Business section: "Private equity takes over the world" - and The Economist November 19 2005, page 77 - Business section: "Mergers and acquisitions, Private lives"  -  The

Unfortunately, a part of the public commentary on this latter phenomenon has taken on rather nationalistic overtones, in countries as far apart as the USA and Poland, Germany, France and Italy:    (see The Economist, December 17 2005: "Private equity in Germany; Anglo-Saxon attitudes" - 

On the other hand, and fortunately, the alternative way of thinking about this paradign shift in managerial and organisational practices is beginning to be visible in progressive companies and institutions:

An Old Model for Success - Real Business Insights - Nov.2005 - IBM Software Group  -  - (English)

On N'apprend Bien que dans la Confiance  - Catalyse  - Winter 2004  - Groupe Solvay - (French) -/usr/library/documents/main/catalyse_nr_66-_hiver_2004.doc

Flocking  -  Perdido, vol. 8, nr. 3 - Summer 2001  -  Trinity Foundation  -  - (English)