Can you imagine a world without profit? What if one of the main purposes of your job wasn’t to generate surplus value for your employer? What if work was centered around activities that gave you meaning and which strengthened your community? What might that world look like?
Perhaps you’d be working less hours. Maybe you you’d wake up excited about work every morning. Maybe you would feel a deep connection to your community in a way that you don’t feel now in our alienated and isolated world.
Perhaps centering work — the entire economy, actually — around the pursuit of private financial gain is what’s holding you back. Holding us back.
This is the perspective of Dr. Jennifer Hinton, a leading proponent of the not-for-profit business, which differs in fundamental ways from a traditional nonprofit organization and, of course, from for-profit businesses. Not-for-profit business models are often invisible in the many movements to re-imagine our economic system, but the idea is starting to gain momentum.
Dr. Hinton offers a vision of an entirely not-for-profit economy made up exclusively of businesses that de-emphasize profit and growth and instead prioritize businesses as a means for social and environmental benefit.
This Upstream Conversation with Jennifer Hinton looks at examples and operating principles of this model, explores how it navigates the capitalism/socialism binary, and asks what conditions would be necessary for this model to truly offer a bridge to a post-growth, post-capitalist world.
Dr. Jennifer Hinton is a systems researcher, activist, and ecological economist who is a Senior Fellow at the Schumacher Institute and the author of two books How on Earth: Flourishing in a Not-for-Profit World by 2050, co-authored with Donnie Maclurcan of the Post-Growth Institute, and Relationship-to-Profit: A Theory of Business, Markets, and Profit for Social Ecological Economics.