Constructing Chains of Enablers for Alternative Economic Futures: Denmark As an Example
Though capitalism may be structured in divergent ways that produce highly different outcomes, and though the capitalist process needs new demands and technologies to realize its expansionary potential, these lessons seem to have been ignored in recent discussions of how to revitalize mature economies. This article illustrates a way of researching alternative economic futures by identifying chains of enablers in Denmark and other Nordic countries by which society and business can co-develop and capture capabilities to take on new roles in globalization. Focus is on institutional enablers that have made possible novel forms of work-organization and business models. These institutional enablers are capacitating on the “supply side” by enabling labor to take active part in shaping enterprises supported by social welfare services (training, child- and eldercare, support for housing, etc.). Being generally inclusive of social movements, welfare states has also helped identify new needs on the “demand side” such as child- and eldercare, environmental protection, alternative energy and energy-saving, health, and city planning. This is illustrated by a number of firms that supply products that solve societal problems, and which have used their capabilities to become multinationals that engage in active co-development with firms and institutions in foreign countries.