The purpose economy is arriving sooner than you think

The new wave of disruption is coming from companies that help customers and employees be of service to the world

Rafael Kaufmann


Update: read Part 2 of this series!

The magnitude of our century’s challenges is daunting. Achieving net zero (and then net-negative) carbon, helping our biosphere regain its balance, increasing standards of living for billions of people, all the while responding and adapting to the many crises that are certain to come: these are only some of the critical things that must be done in the coming decades, yet the technological and economical hurdles of achieving them seem impossible to achieve within a traditional capitalist framework, famously optimized for perpetuating its own growth.

This has led to increased calls for more radical intervention from the world’s governments; yet, the persistent difficulty in getting green bills into most legislative agendas indicates that the political world order is, if anything, even more entrenched in its logic of electoral convenience, institutional gridlock, obscure interests and perverse incentives. As Kim Stanley Robinson so dramatically illustrates in The Ministry for the Future, most government action will likely be lagging, not leading.

Yet, I’m confident that humanity can and will tackle these challenges — and that we already know how to do it. I recently participated in the Applied Purpose Initiative’s inaugural…