Can Capitalism Still Exist in a Transparent World?

Let’s face it, the top dog in a capitalist economy stays that way through opacity regardless of the feel good business reality of transparency on the horizon. We don’t know Apple’s real plans, nor do we know what Google’s really cooking up behind closed doors despite Paul Bucheit’s “Don’t Be Evil” quip that happened to make it’s way into the public G-manifesto.

Today a country stays a superpower by manipulating energy and the need for arms. How else do you keep paying your citizens a higher wage for the same work in another part of the world? Start a war, bring the fear, then sell the stuff that keeps the fear alive so your stuff is worth more and you make more money for the same effort... Ok, ok, it’s a bit simplistic, but you divorce your mind from the emotion, I’m sure you’ve also had the same insight, right?

Why media censorship, web access censorship, PR spins and more still exist in a post Cluetrain world may be baffling to the 2.0 digirati, but I can’t say that it surprises me. We need opacity to keep the wheels of Capitalism rolling....but where its’ going though is a whole other question.

Enter a transparent world. Blogs in the workplace, SMS revolts that overthrow autocratic governments, and even the Twitter-ization of politics. Now the real questions surface:

If your enemy can be humanized on MySpace, do you really need guns to protect yourself from him?

If we can actually generate energy without depleting the Earth’s natural resources, do we still need to invade new “markets” geographically or has the competition shifted to the realm of intellectual property?

When you can truly outsource in a uber-connected world, how will you justify your inflated salary living in a “developed” country? For that matter, when it’s all connected, where is it really “developed”, and where is it not?

If the world is indeed becoming transparent, can Capitalism still exist?

I’m lucky to live in a country where I can raise these issues and my web is generally accessible. Even so, the powers that be would like to blind you this reality, but they may not have long. Transparency is the new currency of business, and an inevitable byproduct of a connection economy. Can the connection economy and Capitalism co-exist? In other words, will the connection economy actually bring about a re-distribution of wealth where somebody doesn’t have to lose for my gain? We’ll just have to wait and see...

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