Just over ten years ago Michel Albert published an influential book Capitalism against Capitalism (Capitalisme contre capitalisme, Paris: Seuil, 1991) in which he contrasted two models of capitalism: the "neo-American" model, geared to individual success and profit, and the "Rhineland" model, which emphasized collective success, consensus and concern for the long term.
Since then, Michel Albert has often had things to say about the decline of the Rhineland model, and the retreat of "social market economics" in favour of the Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism. But now suddenly he is arguing that firms -making up for the shortcomings of the state- are paradoxically starting in the United States to embody a new style of social market economics...
He is now arguing that there are two contrasting models of the firm: one is concerned only with maximizing profits for shareholders, whereas the other is motivated by the ideal of broad-based partnerships, seeking to reconcile the interests of customers, shareholdersand employees as well as both short- and long-term demands.
And, somewhat surprisingly, Michel Albert reveals that this new style of firm, which is both socially responsible and a highly efficient business, is coming from the United States to show us what to do.