About 3 months ago, I received a cryptic email from what sounded like a war-weary Wikipedia Editor pinned down in the trenches by enemy cross-fire. His message was stark; Wikipedia will delete “Social Capitalism”, you are in the best position to save it”.
Since the dawn of Social Media, many people in the Social Capital domain, including myself, had been contributing references, material, ideas, and theoretical constructs to the doomed Wikipedia article in naive optimism that Social Capitalism may indeed be a new form of social organization. So, upon receiving the desperate plea from the front lines of Wikipedia D-day, I jumped in and submitted argument after argument to an already formidable defense deploring the powerful Wikipedia Editors to preserve the article, the idea, the possibility…
But alas, we failed. Perhaps we did not have proper academic credentials. Maybe we were not widely cited by important people. Our oppressors eventually provided a weak explanation related to social systems and economics, etc., but in retrospect, I think the real problem was that we were trying to define something that did not yet exist despite nearly 30 million Google search returns.
I have to admit that I agree with the Wikipedia editors. In reviewing that experience recently, I turned to the definition for “Capitalism (disambiguation)” in Wikipedia:
Wikipedia defines Capitalism as an “economic and social system in which the means of production are privately controlled”.
Factors of Production (from classical economics) are presumed to be something like “land, labor, and capital”. Now, consider that modern day factors of production are increasingly cited as: “Social Capital, Intellectual Capital, and Creative Capital” of people and their relationships. After all, these are the assets that are deployed in order to produce the proverbial “basket of goods” upon which most global currencies are compared.
This is not trivial. Since these modern factors of production exist between the ears of each individual person, they are, by definition “privately controlled” and readily exchanged for economic outcomes among people in social networks.
Social Capitalism refers to the economic and social system in which the means of production are social, creative, and intellectual assets.
However, (and a big however), in order for Social Capitalism to become the dominant form of social organization, quite literally, society must reorganize itself to account for exchange and trade of intangibles. Then, all the decentralized innovations that we call the “Social Capital Domain” can integrate, unify, and dominate. Everything will change.
Perhaps then we’ll finally have a Wikipedia article for Social Capitalism like those clear, present, and magnificently organized warriors behind such economic facts as Corporate Personhood.