As long as businesses are set up to focus exclusively on maximizing financial income for the few, our economy will be locked into endless growth and widening inequality. But now people are experimenting with new forms of ownership, which Marjorie Kelly calls generative: aimed at creating the conditions for life for many generations to come. These designs may hold the key to the deep transformation our civilization needs.
To understand these emerging alternatives, Kelly reports from all over the world, visiting a community-owned wind facility in Massachusetts, a lobster cooperative in Maine, a multibillion-dollar employee-owned department-store chain in London, a foundation-owned pharmaceutical company in Denmark, a farmer-owned dairy in Wisconsin, and other places where a hopeful new economy is being built. Along the way, she finds the five essential patterns of ownership design that make these models work.
“This magnificent book is a kind of recipe for how civilization might cope with its too-big-to-fail problem. It’s a hardheaded, clear-eyed, and therefore completely moving account of what a different world might look like—what it already does look like in enough places that you will emerge from its pages inspired to get involved.”
—Bill McKibben, author of Deep Economy
“This book is not only brilliant but also tremendously important. It’s one of those rare books that opens our eyes to the fact that something we’ve taken for granted is actually intrinsically destructive and can be replaced by alternative, healthier forms of organization. I found it exhilarating.”
—Fritjof Capra, physicist and author of The Tao of Physics and The Hidden Connections
“As a serial entrepreneur who’s started three traditional shareholder-owned businesses, I know from experience what’s wrong with that model. The future belongs to the alternative forms of ownership Kelly writes about. This is a book the world desperately needs.”
—Jeffrey Hollender, cofounder and former CEO, Seventh Generation