Teachers are “threatened” with layoffs. In some cases, the profession is openly mocked. Meanwhile, corporations are staring blankly at the knowledge gap in their industries. The older generation is retiring, moving on, and taking their knowledge with them. Teacher’s unions are busted and disappearing. Apprenticeships are a thing of the past. Everyone is asking “where are the jobs – there is plenty of work to do”
Education is obviously a financial instrument. Think about that for a minute – it is an investment like any other investment. Wall Street has an arbitrage instrument for every market anomaly – why not education?
What would happen if teachers were given an equity position in their students? Isn’t this what families do to prepare their kids to take over the family business? Isn’t this what happens in corporations where executives pick proteges? Isn’t this what happens in politics where knowledge is traded among a closed group?
A school like Harvard University or MIT certainly hold and equity position in their students. What if every community viewed every child as an asset instead of a liability?
The following video series was recorded at the Future Of Money and Technology Summit in San Francisco on February 28, 2011. The name of this panel is Monetizing Intangible Capital. The speakers are Mary Adams (moderator), Art Brock, Greg Wendt, and myself. All six parts are posted below (8-10 minutes each) for public distribution, comments, and review.
I found this panel to be extremely interesting and especially valuable since these panelists represents an important cross section of professionals who are actually doing the hard work of designing, testing, developing, and producing specifications for the creation, storage, and exchange of what could represent a large percentage of the value in our global economy. This discussion is not insignificant by any measure.
Mary Adamsopened the panel with a remarkable statistic that 80% of our economy exists in the form of intangibles that do not necessarily show up in the balance sheet of the global economy – which is notably in crisis at this time. Mary offers a working definition of Intangible Capital as consisting of 3 primary components: Intellectual Capital (the stuff between people’s ears), Relationship Capital (degrees of connectedness to a social network), and Structural Capital (tools, processes, and data). Then, Mary adds a fourth category called Strategic Capital which includes planning, formulation, and scenario testing.
Mary then brilliantly guides the audience and the panel through 50+ minutes of high quality interaction addressing some of the most pressing issues of our time from the uprising in the Middle East, to Healthcare, Global Warming, Organic Food Production, and even the Internet Kill Switch – all these subjects become interconnected and relevant in this domain.
Art Brock introduces a set of very important ideas about how there is a vast amounts of “Value” that is not, and many never be, adequately articulated by a “monetary” system that exists today. It is therefore necessary to capture value in a completely different manner involving higher forms of expression which, in turn, introduce a new “value system” that would better represents social priorities and the fair distribution of resources and associated wealth.
Greg Wendt introduces his work related to articulating the planet Earth as the “Meta Economy” under which the financial economy is merely a subset. When accounted in this manner, humans are spending beyond our planet’s means to replace resources consumed. As such, we cannot expect to arrive at a “Balanced Budget” by anyone’s definition unless we include a full accounting of Earth’s productivity.
I, myself (representing The Ingenesist project) suggest that there is a small flaw in market economics that can be corrected where the factors of production include a “knowledge inventory” rather that a material inventory of land, parts, and simple labor. Such a knowledge inventory, if articulated in the correct format, can act as the basis of a social currency that may compete admirably with, if not fully replace, a vulnerable dollar based economy.
I was deeply impressed at how four highly recognized experts can approach a similar problem from four completely different directions and environments yet arrive at fully complementary set conclusions and subsequent solutions. I encourage the viewer to watch the entire series as this is truly a rare meeting of minds.
When I use the term “Innovation Bank”, people conjure up the image of a cheery place where anticipation reigns as starry eyed depositors arrange their intellectual property in neat cubby boxes, Patents fly like cash register receipts and companies troll the halls looking for a cure for their bottom line blues.
This is not exactly what we have in mind, nor is it too far off either. An innovation Bank is simply a knowledge inventory that contains knowledge assets that exists in the format of a financial instrument and can be deployed for the purposes of increasing productivity. In the process, it makes 10X more of itself every time it is deployed. It mints its own money.
The Innovation Banker
This is not much different than a financial bank. In fact, in the financial bank, everyone assumes the borrower has the knowledge to execute the business plan and the bank lends the money. Oh, by the way, the money makes more of itself 10X over (fractional reserve system) every time it is deployed.
With the innovation bank, everyone assumes the entrepreneur has the money to execute the plan, and the seek to borrow the knowledge. Other than that, they can be considered identical. The key is in the scope, depth, and format in which the knowledge assets live in a community as well as the ability to track and preserve the creation of new knowledge in a community. An innovation banker is a knowledge banker
A Virtuous Circle
Together with the financial banking, these two system engage in the dance of the virtuous circle of innovation enterprise. Apart, they collapse into the swirling cesspool of eternal debt and infinite interest (pun intended).
Today, I have been reading a lot of posts related to 9/11 and the terrible events of that day. The conversation lives. It is propagated in every direction and expressed in so many different ways once unimaginable from editorialized news.
My memory of 9/11 was quite personal; I was the customer engineering account manager at Boeing – my customer was United Airlines. I was fortunate to have worked with many UAL Pilots and Flight Attendants and their Unions; UAL lost 16 employees that day – I lost 16 friends.
I remember the anxiety in the aircraft business as the unspeakable was spoken, the impossible became possible, and the unreal became real. My own identity was defined by commercial air travel and the safety and comfort of people and families. The relationship between Boeing and UAL has always been profound; but the strain caused inside the industry was foreboding.
The fact that data could shift so rapidly called everything into question. Relationships diverged, people no longer knew how to process the information that was available. This gargantuan ‘outlier’ stained every single probability chart in existence – like a crater in a barren landscape. The only clarity could be found in shorter time segments, before 9/11, after 9/11… but not 9/11.
“Google News” was one of the first information aggregation devices and was developed in response to one news junky’s need to know, as soon as possible, what is happening in the world of such micro-timing. As the subsequent political and economic swings overshot every rational stabilizing mechanism such as ‘checks and balances’, or ‘market arbitrage’ forces, the rest of us sought quicker and better ways to stay in touch with the events of the world. This meant, quicker ways to stay in touch with each other.
Today, as 9 years of “new time” has been added to the risk equations, we can see the effects of radical cultural shifts; social priorities are gaining momentum over Wall Street priorities. While governments still wrestle with the old world order, a new one is forming in it’s place. This new world has the power to perform many of the functions of corporations and government. Can twitter catch terrorists? Can Facebook entries trigger community awareness? Can instant messaging deliver instant response? How many lives are saved by Social Media? I am not certain, but it is an important question to ask that age old question: Will good triumph over evil? or in economic terms; Is humanity self-correcting?
The convergence continues. The next paradigm of economic development will continue on the micro-time scale as FB communities hit neighborhoods, Linkedin communities hit local communities of practice, and Twitter news armies grow. Cooperation Capitalism will replace competitive Capitalism and social vetting will replace institutional surveillance. Finally, a productivity backed currency will replace debt backed currency. Bring it on.
People accumulate a wealth of knowledge in their lives as they pass from project to project and industry to industry. Each of our social, creative, and intellectual pursuits and exposures combines to form the person who we are and the contribution to society that we represent.
Your knowledge and experience also helps others predict what preferences you may have and what decisions you may make. Corporations, advertisers, banks, insurance companies, and politicians all want to know this and they will go to extreme and expensive measures to get it – why not just sell it to them?
Peace sells, but who’s buying?
Management of companies, little league teams, Rotary Clubs, even raising a family, is extremely valuable knowledge to a wide variety of situations. Civic service, spirituality, military service, and philanthropy provide a basis for a host of knowledge attributes. Academic accomplishment, physical achievement, artistic expression, manual dexterity, and whole body coordination provides great insight to the application of all knowledge. Physical challenges, grief, personal struggles, and the experience of injustice further add to the wealth of knowledge one accumulates in a lifetime.
Every person is unique with a different set of knowledge than any other; therefore, everyone has something to offer to someone else. Each person’s combination of formal and informal education is valuable in it’s uniqueness. With the proper system and incentives in place, trillions of dollars are on the table to bid for access to your knowledge.
The Den of Thieves:
The resumes that we post on Monster.com are woefully inadequate and so heavily gamed that predictive utility related to your future decisions and innovative capacity is severely compromised.
The credit score also measures past behavior by tracking negative events; many of which are outside the control of the subject such as a layoff, fraud, medical emergencies, etc. Again, the credit score is quite useless as a predictor of future decisions and innovative capacity.
Now we have Social Media and the mad scramble to be visible in social media space. The scourge of marketers, spammers, and fraudsters are close behind chasing your information that they are all too happy to sell to the aforementioned “clients”.
Take a Step Back … and get a grip
We are talking about your information that describes your knowledge attributes which predicts your preferences, your future decisions, and your innovation. Yet complete industries exist to collect it from you for free, organize it, and sell it to others for a great deal of money. There are 5000 job boards collecting resumes, 300 Million credit scores being securitized by Wall Street, and 12,000 social media sites aggregating your creative content, relationships, and knowledge attributes.
Join The Ingenesist Project:
The Ingenesist Project specifies a system where your knowledge attributes are expressed in a packet of code that you control, distribute, regulate, withhold and track as you wish.
The result is that you will be paid to learn, to know, to practice, and to participate in life as you wish. It becomes in your best economic interest to produce exactly what you are best at, and have a talent for producing. It will be in the best interest of corporations, marketers, Wall Street, insurance companies, and Politicians to support you in these pursuits so they can “farm” the knowledge today that will buy their products tomorrow.
The Patent system is slow, static, and expensive. Sure it’s great for corporations and wealthy institutions, but what about the rest of us? How do we get paid for our intellectual property? We make rapid fire decisions every day that can make or break markets – who’s got time to patent?
Intellectual Property In the Cloud
Or maybe the last thing that Wall Street wants is for Engineers, Architects, designers, and creative people to get “royalties” on their work. Wall Street is quite happy collecting the royalties of the creative people in America – those people who actually produce something real and tangible. Social media is a social contract and Intellectual Property is our tangible currency. Hello.
Sure Bro…Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin are great for broadcasting across the Ocean, but how good are they for meeting your neighbors? As wonderful as all this global chatter appears, nothing tangible happens until the rubber meets the road.
Don’t Worry, Be Neighborly…
Nothing “Economic” can happen is Social Media until real people get together to build things. Sure, Marketers are trying their hardest to penetrate the last mile, but communities are trying to defend it too. This is the final battleground of Social Media. The end game must be as follows: Social priorities must ultimately drive Wall Street priorities – not the other way around. That is the only sustainable thesis for the next millennium.
The following video describes how the components of the next economic paradigm must act locally, but share globally. For anyone wondering what to do next or where the great opportunities are, think about building out the Last mile of Social Media.
In the 1960’s Superman comics, Bizarro World was a place where everything was the opposite as Normal World. On the planet Htrae (Earth spelled backwards) lives Bizarro Jimmy Olsen, a Bizarro Lois Lane, Bizarro Superman, etc. Of course, Normal World is the standard bearer for all that is great and good to the reader.
In the study of Normal Economics, currency always represent productivity – otherwise nobody would “work” for it. Productivity is defined as: all the stuff we can make within a certain period of time. We measure it with expressions like “dollars per hour”, “miles per hour”, “5% compounded annually”, board-feet per minute, etc.
Suppose we were to describe a Bizarro currency as: All the Time that can be produced within a certain amount of stuff.
After all, every living person is allocated a certain amount of time on Bizarro World. Time is a scarce resource whose value is determined by supply and demand. Time is not easily forged, debased, or counterfeited. It makes for a perfect Bizarro currency. Of Course the Bizarro Currency would be called the Rallod (Dollar spelled backwards).
In Normal Economics, land, labor, and financial capital are the factors of production called “Tangibles” while social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital are called “Intangibles”. By contrast, in Bizarro Economy, social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital are Tangibles while land, labor, and financial capital are the Intangible factors of production.
Of course in Bizarro World, it takes rallods to make rallods. So if you want to get rich, you need to invest your time in one of two things: Saving time for other people, or reducing the amount of stuff they need to consume on their time.
Likewise, in a Normal Banking, an entrepreneur assumes that they have the Knowledge to execute a business plan and they borrow the money. In Bizarro Bank, the Entrepreneur assumes that they have the money to execute a business plan and they borrow the knowledge.
In Normal World, money is backed by debt. In Bizarro World, money is backed by innovation.
What if we got it backwards?
Probably the most immediate concern is whether the Rallod can hedge the Dollar, or will the two planets collide?
Today, land, labor, and capital make up the “Tangible” assets allocated by entrepreneurs in the production of all products and service. Meanwhile, Social Capital, Creative Capital, and Intellectual Capital of people and communities are called “Intangible Assets” on the corporate balance sheet.
As soon as you leave the Corporation, this condition reverses. What if the new generation of corporations were built on this reversal?
Suppose it is already happening.
The next economic paradigm will be built on Social Media as soon as people start getting together to build things. Social Capital, Creative Capital and intellectual capital will be allocated by entrepreneurs in the production of all products and services. Meanwhile land, labor, and capital will be the intangible assets.
This may not be so far out.
LAND: with Social media, Mobile internet, geolocation applications, mobile applications, and speed blogging – most activity is independent of physical land. Instead, Public “land” or private “land” behave as the intangible component where people assemble and produce things.
LABOR: no longer means that two physical parts are assembled into a machine. Instead two ideas are assembled into a third idea and redeployed as data, information, knowledge, innovation or wisdom.
CAPITAL: Seriously; what exactly is Capital these days except the thing that banks play with and politicians argue about? Capital is created from debt. The continuation of Capital Markets as we know them exists more as the absence of a reasonable alternative than an actual proxy for true value or productivity.
Instead; 500 Million people flock to Facebook, Twitter, Google, Linkedin, Foursquare, Gowalla, etc., to collect options and store social value. Uhm…Why?
The next phase for social media will become user generated productivity. That is when people get together outside the construct of government and corporations to build something. If we are lucky, this transition will happen before we are forced to “rebuild” something.
The Ingenesist Project specifies an Innovation Economy built on a platform of social media as the next economic paradigm. Material based on video series here
Factors of Production (from classical economics) are presumed to be some proxy for land, labor, and capital. Suppose, however, the factors of production for modern society were something like “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 currencies are compared.
Since these factors of production exist between the ears of each individual person, they are, by definition “privately controlled” and readily exchanged among other people in social networks. If the US Supreme Court can rule that Corporations are people, then it is equally valid that people are corporations. Therefore, Social Capitalism refers to the economic and social system in which the means of production are social, creative, and intellectual assets.
In order for Social Capitalism to become the dominant form of social organization, quite literally, society must reorganize itself to trade “abundant intangibles instead of scarce tangibles”. Then, all the decentralized innovations can integrate. The following video describes a system for reorganizing society so that the new economic paradigm; called Social Capitalism, may emerge.
Reorganizing For The Era Of Social Capitalism
Social Capitalism is similar to Material Capitalism with the exception that society would trade in abundant intangibles instead of scarce tangibles….and, everything changes.
The Article below is from 2010 – more than 4 years ago – when Social Capitalism was just beginning to enter the lexicon of the social media practitioners. This article below quotes the Wikipedia Article on “Social Capitalism”. That article has since been removed by Wikipedia for failure to be a real -ism; I suppose. That is, Wikipedia does not yet recognize the movement as a real form of Social Organization. It is interesting, if not historic, to watch the progress of a social movement from its tenuous inception:
Social capitalism is an old idea taking on an new form in the age of social media where social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital are deployed outside the construct of the prevailing corporations or governments.
Throughout human history, societies have reorganized themselves in response to tyranny, innovation, environment, new wisdom, etc. I believe this to be the root of what Social Capitalism is, and therefore, how it should be defined.
In The Shadows:
The dominant definition of “Social Capitalism” from Wikipedia reflects a social cause cast against the backdrop of market capitalism. This definition acknowledges that economies work better when everyone participates; specifically, the so-called tier 1 and tier 2 people. Tier 1 individuals have steady financial incomes that allow them to function without private or government support. Tier 2 individuals cannot meet the prevailing standard of living and rely on private or government support. Therefore the prevailing definition of Social Capitalism often refers to efforts to bolster tier 2 persons as a means of reinforcing the economy for everyone.
There is an inherent conflict where tier 1 is held responsible to support tier 2 as a means of protecting their tier 1 status. Traditionally tier 2 included poor families dependent on food stamps; children who depend on public education; elderly people who are no longer able to work, and low-income criminals who require police intervention, etc.
Ideally, getting more people from tier 2 into tier 1 is the desirable objective. Indeed political division is marked by the theories and practices on how exactly that objective would best be accomplished.
A worst case:
What happens when tier 2 is simply forgotten; they are simply allowed to fail in the mainstream economy? What if the government becomes too weak to bolster their economic prospects? What happens when a critical mass of tier 1 people involuntarily enter the tier 2 environment bringing along their substantial knowledge inventory. They are otherwise very productive people that had been laid-off, outsourced, underemployed, or otherwise marginalized.
The Special Case:
What happens when Tier 2 deploy new technologies that responding to their priorities, not necessarily Wall Street priorities. What happens when tier 2 people trade a social “currency” among themselves? What happens when tier 2 swells to a size and scope that they are able to bear broad political and economic influence. Many great human struggles emerged from under the hand of a Tier 1 constraint using their own manner to store and exchange value (currency) represented by their own knowledge inventory and productivity. Why would that not happen internally in American Society?
Social Capitalism is where factors of production in an economy are purely human and technological and less structural:. Specifically, social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital deployed outside the construct of the prevailing corporations or governments. Maybe it should be called “structural capitalism” because that is what is actually changing. We are at an extraordinary time in history where an extraordinary structural reorganization is taking place.