Economy innovations guru Stan Thekeraera presented at Jamshedpur Business School XLRI an inspiring model that helps producers and consumer connect by joining hands through a new legal platform: a 3 party stakeholder company involving consumers, producers and (micro) investors.
He calls this model participative capitalism (see also this academic post) and is trying it out with rice growers in Tamil Nadu, consumers in Kerala (South India) and individual supporters like you and me who invest their savings for a similar return as we get from a normal bank (in India that is around 5%). Earlier Stan managed to build inclusive value chains connecting tea growers in India with tea drinkers in the UK with a company called JUST Change (sorry their homepage web link is dysfunctional at the moment I am posting this). The way he described the innovation made a lot of sense to me:
“when a farmer goes to the market to sell his product, who decides the price: the seller or the buyer?
~ the buyer…
when a consumer goes to a supermarket to buy tea, who decides the price: the seller or the buyer?
~ the seller…
So who is this person in between that has the power to decide the price for both producer and consumer?
~ the market..
And what does the market do to connect producers and consumers – even when they know each other and know what goods they want to exchange?
~ the market provides working capital to bridge the time difference between supply and demand.
So why not involve all three parties: producers, consumers AND capital investors in the same company to create our own market that act according to our own values? ”
-not a literal quote, but this is how I remember his words. Very keen to learn more about how consumers can be mobilised into such inclusive chain models and do the same for textiles !!