The Rise of Anti-Capitalism is a fascinating essay by economist Jeremy Rifkin. He predicts the non-profit sector will play an increasingly important role in the world’s economic future.
This is not the first time Rifkin has suggested this. His 1995 book End of Work also suggested that non-profits were the future of business. Here's Wikepedia's synopsis of the book:
In 1995, Rifkin contended that worldwide unemployment would increase as information technology eliminated tens of millions of jobs in the manufacturing, agricultural and service sectors. He predicted devastating impact of automation on blue collar, retail and wholesale employees. While a small elite of corporate managers and knowledge workers would reap the benefits of the high-tech world economy, the American middle class would continue to shrink and the workplace become ever more stressful.
In his essay Rifkin repeats his book's thesis that the non-profit sector is going to become a key source of jobs in the future. Key quote from the essay:
The answer lies in the civil society, which consists of nonprofit organizations that attend to the things in life we make and share as a community.
Rifkin also points out that the global non-profit sector is both large and growing.
In dollar terms, the world of nonprofits is a powerful force. Nonprofit revenues grew at a robust rate of 41 percent — after adjusting for inflation — from 2000 to 2010, more than doubling the growth of gross domestic product, which increased by 16.4 percent during the same period. In 2012, the nonprofit sector in the United States accounted for 5.5 percent of G.D.P.
But despite these numbers and Rifkin's arguments, we're not quite ready to throw capitalism under the bus.
In fact, we feel for-profit but socially oriented businesses are more likely to be the future of business than pure non-profits. This point of view is echoed in the recent trends report by the Center for the Future of Museums.
Trends like the rise of the sharing economy, the growing number of socially oriented for-profit companies and the increased interest interest in social entrepreneurship all indicate firms mixing for-profit methods and business models with social objectives are becoming more popular.
Despite the size and growth of these sectors - non-profits and socially oriented for-profits - they are often overlooked by companies serving small businesses. They shouldn't be.