In March of 2020 people’s lives and businesses were abruptly interrupted by a global pandemic. As an advertising and marketing display company we serviced the tradeshow industry. Like someone turned off a light, our sales revenues dropped by over ninety percent while we still had to pay for our unchanged overhead expenses.
Uncertainty and struggles create a demand that drives innovation. Like millions of other small local businesses, we were forced to re-think our entire business strategy. This emotional shake-up led us down the rabbit hole of discovery beyond just our own personal business setbacks.
We started rethinking the entire economy and how broken it had become, particularly for the RSB Marketplace (Really Small Businesses). The RSB market includes self-employed individuals, start-up companies, and small businesses with less than 50 employees; that was us.
The intense worry and pressure led us to a major break-through and a mastermind shift. We started thinking really big. The bigger we thought the smaller we felt. Then like a bolt-of-lightening an ‘ah-ha’ moment hit us.Woven out of the millions of tiny pieces of our wreaked economy we began to piece together something new. An innovative business model so significant, that once adopted, we believe will create a self-sustaining and mutually beneficial economic ecosystem for companies of all sizes.
To fully realize the power of this new idea we need to provide some background to the logical sequence of our thinking. Reading through this will help differentiate what is contained within the LoaQl Manifesto from previous ideas on sustainable economies.
For centuries we have watched money flow through a robust capitalistic system that led to tremendous advancements for humanity. The positives of this free and robust capitalistic society have been unmatched in bringing prosperity to the average citizen. Top people and companies competed delivering a quality and variety of comfort greater than that of kings and queens of the past.
Over time this rapid advancement of raw competitive capitalism created a pattern of tremendous wealth disparity. By overall percentages the rich seem to keep getting richer and fewer while the masses multiply and become poorer. More and more individuals are blocked out of the system by a lack of start-up money and the restrictions of government regulations.
The money flows from our pockets up to large corporate companies and industry franchises that work endlessly to compete against local small businesses, while doing very little to support the local community overall.
Democratic governments that once served as a counterbalance to these monopolistic powers now appear to be controlled by the raw power that massive amounts of money can buy through 3rd party subsidiaries and government lobbyists.
Whole Foods’ John Mackey developed the idea of Conscious Capitalism. The concept was created on the premise that businesses should operate not only in an ethical manner while they pursue profits on behalf of management and shareholders, but also that serves all stakeholders involved including team members (employees), vendors and customers while being conscious of the environment.
The principle of Conscious Capitalism is a trend in the right direction. It still does not provide relief or solutions for RSB Marketplace. Just like raw Competitive Capitalism, Conscious Capitalism greatly benefits larger companies with the resources to gain traction displacing local small businesses.
Like Competitive Capitalism, Co-operative Capitalism is a top-down system to control and win more market share. While both ideas have some level of merit in specific niches neither support the local small businesses, the backbone to a balanced economic ecosystem overall.
Co-operative Capitalism provides all participating companies the ability to access resources that by themselves would be out of reach. Trade organizations and unions by their collective group cooperation leverage tremendous power over market dynamics. Competitively nudging out more and more of the little RSB’s to the determent of the local community connections, furthering the class divide.
Another common complaint of Co-operative Capitalism is forcing people to participate and contribute. Many unions use this tactic to ensure ‘dues’ are paid even if the interest of the person contributing is not represented.
Conscious Co-operative Capitalism
In the process of analyzing the aftermath of government shut-downs we invested thousands of hours of combined effort compiling insights from other businesses. As we expanded our minds to challenge traditional thinking it finally became clear to us. It is only when we combine the purposeful ‘intent’ of Conscious Capitalism with the ‘collaborative’ efforts of Co-operative Capitalism that supports everyone in the system, we were able to create an innovative, transitional, self-sustaining model that provides solutions for all of those who choose to participate.
This has led to this break-through Manifesto. This is intentionally designed to benefit all consumers and especially RSB owners in every local community. It combines the best practices of the old business models with the innovation of the new; providing greater access to opportunities for everyone.
Our intent is to introduce this new business model to all constituents of all local economies. It is our position that local communities that adopt Conscious Co-operative Capitalism will benefit in a material and sustainable manner that will become their ‘new normal’. This ‘LoaQl’ Manifesto out-lines the implementation of Conscious Cooperative Capitalism at the local level.
What Is Conscious Co-operative Capitalism?
It is a more holistic approach that will work for everyone especially those being undermined by the traditional competitive models. This is restructuring our business relationships. It’s opposite to the competitive capitalistic models.
This is not a bifurcated economic system that results into the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots’. This is designed to support the local small businesses which are also the consumers in the local economy.
The Conscious Co-operative Capitalism provides a solution built from the bottom up. Working with local companies and their communities ‘intentionally’ coming together to 'collaborate'. Pursuing benefits for all those who participate in revenue cycles: consumers, businesses, and communities alike. No model will ever provide an equality of outcome, but in this system there is a requirement of participation to benefit.
A ‘conscious’ recognition that everyone who participates in the marketplace deserves benefits for that participation; even if that role is simply consuming, it needs to be recognized and supported as essential to the ‘conscious co-operative’ economy at large.
Everyone must participate in the economic system to benefit, either with money or cooperative efforts of support. There is a material element of required participation in the ecosystem allowing all local businesses access. Meaning even those with limited to ZERO resources must have access to participate in the cooperative marketplace.
Our adoption of Conscious Co-operative Capitalism, stated within this ‘LoaQl’ Manifesto, focuses on local communities and all who live, work, and consume there. This innovative opportunity and idea unifies consumers and businesses together as a cooperative system. The consumption of goods and services and the profits they generate will be concentrated locally.
Through this process "LoaQl' has repurposed technology allowing local businesses a tool to cost-effectively market directly to the local community, driving consumers to their products or services with discounts and promotional offers. It will also serve as a messaging channel for the entire local community to support and benefit from one another. Where everyone in the community network has access to utilize and contribute toward helping one another locally.
Medi-Share is good example of an innovative implementation of Conscious Co-operative Capitalism. As one of the largest health care sharing communities in America Medi-Share members take comfort in knowing their premiums remain low while their eligible medical expenses are covered by the community at large.
Contrast that to the competitive profit environment owned primarily by large corporate companies. They accumulate money and power for their stakeholders rather than optimize for the health and welfare of all involved in the system. This raw competitive capitalistic model of accumulating money and power has proven highly detrimental to all local communities and their local businesses. These old competitive marketplace ideas of optimizing exclusively for the profits of the few at the expense of the majority will no longer remain viable.
The new conscious co-operative capitalist is looking to create a long-term win-win relationship with everyone involved, from consumer to share-holder. Rather than optimizing for maximum profits, they consciously optimize for maximum co-operative experiences that benefit all in the system. This includes short-term benefits of free access and fast profits, along with long-term sustainability for the individuals and to the collective environment at large.
The Local Connections
New business propositions must start with looking at things locally. What is the real impact on people, the local community and our natural resources at large? Through these new ideals, respectful of the collective co-operative of working together, we will consciously reveal the capitalistic value to the collective. The new normal for business is not a one-size fits all but rather a complex holistic idea.
It is a must to reverse engineer the classic top down pyramid of competitive capitalism. Restructure our business relationships to run opposite to those of the competitive capitalistic power centers. The success of anything that’s built is the foundation it’s built upon. The conscious co-operation needs to flow from the bottom up, not the top down. Planning and decisions need to take place locally with the conscious co-operation of all involved.
The conscious co-operative efforts will only succeed in a supportive environment. The negative attacking and fighting of competitive capitalism via cancel culture movements or boycotts will slowly decline. The positives of Conscious Co-operative Capitalism will negate the negatives of the cancel culture and boycotts. The lop-sided bifurcated economy the competitive models produce will not be accepted.
Decisions made in a competitive corporate conference room, or in Washington DC, or even the State Capital’s will soon become obsolete as we consciously co-operate to support ourselves locally with a system that is fair to all. Is it good for the entire group locally? Is it good for the environment? Accommodating the weakest links in the economy chain, which are the consumers, must be the priority.
How do we adopt and implement Conscious Co-operative Capitalism?
Step 1 – Consciously accept and commit to the idea of supporting one-another locally.
Step 2 – We are all consumers and the foundation of success begins with us as individual consumers. As a consumer commit your time, resources and money to participate consciously in supporting individual local businesses that consciously co-operate by being members of the local collective.
Step 3 – Success still comes through our competitive efforts in the marketplace. However the results of winning and losing have consciously changed. It’s the effort and input we give toward helping others that matters now.
We will still compete consciously as individuals, working to obtain success and viability through the collective co-operative system. Success will still come through competitive winning but the objectives of winning have consciously changed. In this new conscious environment we are not rewarded through selfish power-grabs.
It’s a new game; a plan B which rewards success differently. It will be through positive altruistic efforts at helping others that we will climb the ladder of success. Competitive people committed to working hard for the success of others will be rewarded with greater access and prominence to influence the collective.
By consciously restructuring the existing profit models toward greater shared benefits and better service toward others we all win. The best of the best will compete for bigger and better ideas at helping others.
Financial success will be less attractive than the social capital and influence earned by the super-stars of conscious cooperative capitalism. They will have the credibility and co-operation of others to serve as conscious leaders in our new economy.
The existing power centers built on competitive capitalism alone will break apart, requiring that they too restructure to this new conscious cooperative effort to remain viable in the marketplace.