Think Bigger. Aim Higher. Go Further.

The New Definition Of Social Capitalism

SocIntCreaCapAbout 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.

LifebeginsatincIf the US Supreme Court agrees that corporations are people, then it is equally valid that people are corporations too. Taken together:

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.

SEE: Reorganizing For The Era Of Social Capitalism

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.



Reorganizing In The Era Of Social Capitalism


Time to Kill Social Media


  1. Jay

    I appreciate your effort to define social capitalism. I do not know if this is proper or correct or if I am in on a completely different island of thought but maybe the focus should be on the result instead of the system. In my view the goal of our corporate capitalism is a focus on enhancing the wealth of the corporate investor. Perhaps the goal of social capitalism is a focus on enhancing the wealth of society through corporate investment. The downside to our current system is it rewards bad behavior and with US Attorneys and other prosecutors more interested in win records than enforcing the law, there is no one to really challenge those bad behaviors. However in a social capitalist society, an investor may be rewarded for the good the investment does for society. How this happens is the difficult part. It may be through tax breaks, investment credits, enhanced access to resources, just not sure but the focus is not profit at all costs, but instead people.

    • Dan Robles

      Hi, Sorry for the delayed response. The term Social Capitalism was memorialized in the video now a few years old. I’d probably pick something different if I had it to do over. Social capitalism in my mind tries to capture “social Capital” as the unit of exchange much as you describe. Thus someone acting in their own best interest creates and exchanges social capital, etc. Thanks again, new words and expressions happen every day. What sounds fine yesterday sounds bad today. I have 2000 views on the old video and don’t want to reset the clock.

  2. Jalal AG

    “Social Capitalism” should be synonym to “Social Democracy” with the difference of later being a political system rather than an economic system. To me “Social Capital” is synonym to “Human capital” or ” Human Resources”.
    “Socialist Capitalism” could be a term to descrip the third way of economic system that redefine economic social responsibility where high quality social safety network in place for the whole society, but the driving economic engine is capitalism? Nordic Model comes to mind. H. Clinton’s and Teresa May both promised such systems for their nations yesterday?!!

  3. Daniel

    The way I see it is the “goal of our corporate capitalism is a focus on enhancing the wealth of the corporate investor.” Only because that is the way someone can objectively staticize production.

    You know that if Joe sold product X and grossed $1,000,000 dollars vs Al who sold the same products and grossed $1,000, that Joe sold more products. That equates to a better survival potential for the company. Which attracts more attention (money) from people who want to share that better survival potential. Hence the focus is on money.

    If we can find another way to measure production that can be objective and not open for opinion, we will be able to create the change in focus.

    Other then that, the only way I can think of, is to make people better, happier and by extrapolation of that their focus will shift from the $ to what did we improve today.

  4. As association undertaking in-depth research and publishing papers and books that will be of interest to your members –

    Robert Corfe
    SCN Convener

  5. Ron Cross

    In another way, social capitalism is a form of socialism whereby capitalists versus the govt become the brokers of goods and services. This form of capitalism is perpetuated and practiced in the U.S.

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