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Punk Capitalism

Punk Capitalism illustration by Art Jaz Illustration by Art Jaz

In the early 1970s, a new sound sprang from New York’s Lower East Side. Television, the New York Dolls, the Ramones and others took rock ‘n’ roll and broke the mold. They replaced complex big-hair power ballads with three chord riffs so simple that anyone could play them, removing the barrier between fans and musicians.

Rock ‘n’ Roll + Democracy = Punk.

First punk took over New York, then London, then the world. Punk was about putting purpose before profit, rebelling against the status quo and doing-it-yourself. In its original form, it didn’t last long as a scene, but the ideas it promoted are now having an effect on the whole world.

Today gaps between producers and consumers are shrinking everywhere. Many of us are now more like what Alvin and Heidi Toffler once described as Prosumers – doing-it-ourselves and producing as much stuff as we consume.

Purpose is becoming more important to more people; which is why nearly half of young professionals today say they would choose to avoid working for an employer that showed poor social responsibility. It’s why we recycle, it’s why more of us are driving these, and it’s also why car manufacturers are coming out with awesome new things like this and this.

But this new D.I.Y. ethic is also about rebelling. Apple can’t tell us to use AT&T on their iPhone anymore than the queen of rock can tell us to turn off the internet. Rock star brands and rock stars aren’t quite as important as they used to be. Barriers are coming down. Purpose and authenticity have more weight. Authority will be resisted.

Technology + Democracy = Punk Capitalism.

2 Responses to “Punk Capitalism”

  1. ADB Says:

    The Punk analogy is a good one, however once applied in the technology sphere (e.g. the Internet) is this not leading to a dilution and suppression of the real creative genius out there?

    Everyone can have an opinion but the real talent is not able to shine through because of the deluge of cr*p. Anyone can be an ‘author’, ‘musician’ ‘artist’ – i put in inverted commas because the quality of what is put out is mostly poor.

    Andrew Keen summarizes brilliantly when talks about Huxleys ‘infinite monkey theorem’ (i.e. if you provide infinite monkeys with infinite typewriters, some monkey somewhere will eventually produce a masterpiece) – the internet is giving all the monkeys the typewriters!

    People talk about the ‘myspace’ / ‘youtube’ revolution giving everyone an equal voice but these sites are owned and controlled by Murdoch and Google, so is the really any rebellion or ‘resisting of authority’?

  2. tomorrow is just another day « Worte, Zeichen, Bilder Says:

    [...] Punk was about putting purpose before profit, rebelling against the status quo and doing-it-yourself. In its original form, it didn’t last long as a scene, but the ideas it promoted are now having an effect on the whole world.//The Pirate’s Dilemma [...]

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