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This paper explores the underlying system of thought that has led to
our current economic, ecological, social, and spiritual crisis and
proposes new ideas and leverage points for a green, inclusive, and
intentional ecosystem economy.
The framework discussed in the paper is based on two main ideas. The
first assumes three stages in the evolution of Western capitalism:
Capitalism 1.0—the free market or laissez-faire capitalism (focus on
growth); capitalism 2.0: a more regulated European- style stakeholder
capitalism (focus on redistribution); and capitalism 3.0: an (as-yet-
unrealized) intentional, inclusive, ecosystem economy that upgrades the
capacity for collaboration and innovation throughout all sectors of
society (focus on ecosystem innovation). The second identifies seven key
dimensions and categories of economic thought that need to be reframed
in order to move the economic system from the 2.0 to 3.0 stage. They
The problem today is that we try to solve 3.0 challenges with 2.0
frameworks and response patterns. The seven categories of economic
thought constitute seven acupuncture points that, if touched upon
simultaneously with strategic initiatives, could greatly accelerate the
shift of the economic system from 2.0 to 3.0.
Dr. C. Otto Scharmer is a Senior Lecturer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the founding chair of ELIAS (Emerging Leaders for Innovation Across Sectors), an innovation platform that links twenty leading global institutions across the three sectors of business, government, and civil society, in order to prototype profound system innovations for a more sustainable world.