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Economic EvolutionWe have dealt extensively with the notion that political ideas and systems are evolving towards an Austro-Libertarian system (see for example Political Systems Lifecycle and The Law of Political Systems Direction ). However, when most people read such assertions they remain skeptic. This is quite normal since we don't see massive signs of a tectonic-size shift. Yet… something is indeed moving. We just don't see it because the changes are subtle and infrequent. But once in a while a person or organization picks-up on those changes and reveals them in a convenient package. This is one of those cases. They picked-up on one facet of the upcoming economic evolution. In 2013 a documentary titled "The Naked Brand" was released. We do recommend that you see it (you can buy it from their website or if there are no copyright issues in your country, there are also torrents available for download from the "usual suspects" websites).

EVIL CORPORATIONS

Most people believe that corporations are evil, greedy organizations that look upon the consumer solely as a source of profits. They are right but the damage corporations inflict are only possible due to government interference with free markets (see for example Evil Corporations And Consumer Protection ). If we remove governments, corporations have only one way to make money: serve the needs of the people.

GOOD CORPORATIONS

Since very unfortunately we do have governments, it is exceedingly difficult to prove the previous assertion. Or is it? Well, no, it is not. The above mentioned documentary has done it for us. It so happens that removing governments is the best and final option but meanwhile we do have a temporary fix and it is called greed. Many corporations have come to realize that serving the customer is indeed good business. For many of them being evil simply does not pay as much as being good. There you have it, self-interest at work for the betterment of humanity. Let's review the consequences of this epiphany.

Consumer Power

In a free market the consumer is king. A company either satisfies a need or its goods and services won't be purchased and it will consequently cease to exist. This power has been expanded exponentially through the Internet. This is so because it is now possible to access peer reviews of almost any product. Such reviews are highly credible and direct the purchasing power of potential customers towards one or a different product. Companies no longer have a choice. They must become more transparent and increase their credibility through their products. The age of marketing Bull-Shit is over. Companies must now become clearer with their product, not cleverer. They must embrace this evolution or perish trying to stop it. The motto is simple: satisfy needs or perish.

And before we move on to the next point, let's say that this "satisfaction" it's not just price or quality. It involves many other issues such as ecology and sustainability. This is the beauty of the free market: not only the consumer is king but it is endlessly demanding.

The point we would like to single out is simple: all this happened without the intervention of the government. Yes, the Internet is the great enabler of this evolution and yes, the Internet was a DARPA project (i.e. government). But it wasn't the only one. Many other similar projects were on drawing boards or being implemented (for example BBS and private communities such as AOL). DARPA simply provided a better product faster, but the trend was already there. It would have happened one way or another.

Waste not

Many people are concerned with the environment simply because it is beginning to affect them. It is now a personal issue. Self-interest is kicking-in. But this is also true for many corporations. They have done the financial calculations and come to the conclusion that harming the environment through the creation of waste is indeed bad business. Not because the environment was being harmed, but because creating waste and then getting rid of it is expensive indeed. It is much more profitable not to create waste in the first place! And again, this conclusion was reached without any government intervention. Corporations did and are doing this out of self-interest. There you have it: greed at work.

One wallet one vote

Consumers are the constituents of any corporation. They vote for or against corporations every single time they buy or abstain from buying their goods and services. In this relationship corporations are powerless and must always negotiate from a position of weakness. Corporations are constantly struggling to satisfy the ever-changing needs of their constituents. Should they fail to do so, they will be down-voted. Immediately. With no recourse and no delay. Done. Gone. Bye-bye. There you have it: perfect democracy in action… yet no government was required!

Do as we do

There is an old saying that politicians use all the time: do as we say, not as we do. Corporations used to live by this motto too (at least as much as possible). This is no longer viable. Should a corporation misbehave, they will be exposed and punished by the market. This is so overwhelming now days that brands are no longer defined by what they say but what they do. As we stated in Who Watches The Watchers, in any Libertarian society everybody watches for their own self-interest, but as a group, everything is being watched. This means that for corporations escape through Bull-Shit propaganda is no longer possible.

Now, we must point out that this was achieved by consumers independently from governments. No government agency of consumer protection was required. No government bureaucrat intervened. Not a single taxpayer cent was spent. Wonderful, isn't it?

Marketing is no more

Through this process of corporate transparency forced by endless consumer surveillance, marketing is slowly and surely disappearing. Now days the product or service itself is the message. Product development is taking over marketing because what matters is the delivered product and not the propaganda surrounding the product. Having a better product or service is, in the most profound way, marketing. Furthermore, the new generation of people, those "wired", have the strong tendency to come back with a vengeance. If a corporation mistreats them through Bull-Shit marketing, they will make this corporation pay. Truly power to the consumer, power to the people. And the best thing is that there is nothing corporations can do about it… unless they get governments to intercede for them (e.g. ridiculous copyright laws, frivolous lawsuits for "defamation" and so on). And again, we can see how governments are actually impeding the operation of free markets and the reasons why they should be gone. Marketing as we know it is disappearing thanks to the actions of consumers operating freely. No government required. Sounds familiar?

The deprecation of modern advertising

The word deprecation is not a common word. It simply means obsolete or superseded by something better. Advertising originated as a way to let consumers know that a product or service is available to them. Early on, people discovered that it was possible to increase sales (i.e. profits) by… errr… "massaging" reality and presenting a service or product "under the most favourable light". In other words, Bull-Shit. The problem is that with the advent of the Internet, advertising is reaching saturation point. People tend to ignore it. It is a blur. It does not work. As such companies have realized that they can more efficiently spent advertising budgets in something else. Something that does indeed work such as free shipping, 24x7 customer support, happier employees, and so on. If you satisfy the needs of your customers, they will increase your profits through word-of-mouth advertising which create repeat business. It is that simple. And this simple truth is finally beginning to sink-in. And the best part? The best part is that no government was necessary to achieve this. It was simple greed at work.

Glasnost for corporations

Gorbachev (the last chairman of the USSR) got it right… just not for the USSR. Glasnost (i.e. transparency) works. It works for consumers because consumers demand it. They are fed-up with marketing Bull-Shit. Corporations are slowly learning this lesson. It will be a very painful transition for them but a joyful for the rest of us. Glasnost will become so important in the future that the faith of entire corporations will depend of it. Corporations are either straight with customers or customers will simply vote with their wallets. Period.

CONCLUSION

Once in a while we get the satisfaction that our (and our brother's in arms) predictions and assertions are validated by reality. This is one of those cases. Although we are not under the illusion that an Austro-Libertarian evolution is just around the corner, we are happy, elated indeed, that the signs are being written on the walls. Peoples' graffiti is becoming louder and louder: serve us or be gone! Governments, of course, are not listening and this is good. The less evolved the dinosaurs are, the faster they go extinct. Corporations on the other hand, are beginning to understand the trend. Most will get it and get with the new program. Some will oppose it and be extinct and this is also good.

Then again, this is our point of view. Yours may differ and if it does so, don't let dying dinosaurs fall all over you.

Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.

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