Numerous people are excitedly sharing the news that the founder of Patagonia, Yvon Chouinard, has decided to give the entire company away to help fight climate change.
Rather than selling the company or taking it public, Mr. Chouinard, his wife and two adult children have transferred their ownership of Patagonia, valued at about $3 billion, to a specially designed trust and a nonprofit organization. They were created to preserve the company’s independence and ensure that all of its profits — some $100 million a year — are used to combat climate change and protect undeveloped land around the globe.
Many are calling this a new dawn for the future of capitalism. A blueprint of what capitalism could potentially evolve into.
But all of those making this call - are completely wrong.
They wrong because Patagonia and Yvon Chouinard were never a part of capitalism in the first place.
From the very start, the Patagonia founder called himself 'a reluctant business owner'. His motivation from the beginning was never personal greed, profit or wealth - so how then can a non-capitalist lead a capitalist revolution?
What Yvon Chouinard pioneered was a new form of being a 'hippy', rather than being 'a purpose-driven capitalist'. There's a big difference.
Yvon Chouinard is not a capitalist - he's passionate about the environment, the outdoors, living a life that's true to his values. He doesn't say this shit to sell more product - he really believes it.
Patagonia is an outlier - it's a radical exception to the rule.
Don't for one second think that the same drivers and forces of motivation that fuel this business, and all those that work there, are in any way applicable to any other business.
So as brilliant as this news is - don't expect any kind of radical shifts in the underlying pervasive neoliberal capitalist operating system that we are so happy to keep in place.