Extractive vs. Generative Entrepreneurship

Extractive entrepreneurs seek to maximize profits, usually without sufficient re-investment in the maintenance of the productive communities. An example is Facebook, which does not share any profits with the co-creating communities they depend on for their value creation and realization. Plus, extractive enterprises may free-ride on a great many social or public infrastructures (e.g. roads as in the case of Uber). Uber and AirBnB tax exchanges, but do not directly contribute to the creation of transportation or hospitality infrastructure. These entities do develop services that take advantage of unused resources, but they operate in an extractive way, and create competitive, rather than sharing, mentalities. For example, it’s not uncommon for participants in this system to construct new buildings for rent, in an effort to maximize profits.

On the other hand, generative entrepreneurs create added value around these communities and commons that they co-produce and upon which they are co-dependent. In the best of cases, the community of entrepreneurs are actually the same group of people as the productive community. The contributors build their own vehicles to create livelihoods while producing the commons, and re-invest surplus in their own well-being and the overall commons system they co-produce.