We are in a relationship economy. I have heard this said many times over the last few months. Shirley mentioned it at the last Institute of Customer Services event in Edinburgh. But what does this mean?
I must admit that ever since the banking crisis the world has never felt the same. It might be that I’m getting old but I don’t have the same desire to buy things. Possessions no longer have the same hold on me and the ‘loads of money’ eighties seems a dim and distant past. I’ve also heard a lot of people talking about seeking greater experience for their money rather than to fill their houses with the latest must-haves.
A quick search tells me that the consumer economy is in its death throes and it is making way for the relationship economy which has a different ‘physics’. Now I doubt that as the laws of physics are universal and so I assume that is why the word is in inverted commas. I take it that they mean a different ethos or approach.
I quote: ‘Markets have fragmented. The media has exploded into countless channels that are two-way, not just one-way. People are buying less. They are also making and sharing more, driven not only because of recent dips in the economy, but also by a desire to reconnect, to find again that sense of community.’
It’s not just me then.
Whether what I read is true or not (it was on the internet) perhaps there is something going on. I have worried for some time that the approach to world trade cannot continue. A never ending growth relying upon extracting the raw materials within the Petri dish we live is ultimately unsustainable. Capitalism relies upon having new markets to exploit. If people do not buy more than they need then growth can only come from more people. Again this is unsustainable.
The internet has transformed from information through transaction to participation and perhaps this offers us a model for the economy. Hunter gatherer to feudalism through capitalism and soon experiencealism (made up word)? Who knows but it will require a paradigm shift in our thinking.
Or is it just me then?