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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.

 

What is Social Capitalism?

July 8, 2014 Update:

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 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:

The Adaptive Cycle: Holling, C. S. 1986. Resilience of ecosystems;

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.

Conflict:

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?

Structural Capitalism:

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.

That’s Social Capitalism as it’s always been.

A Definition for Innovation Economics

unimotocycleInnovation economics is an economic doctrine that reformulates the traditional model of economic growth so that knowledge, technology, entrepreneurship, and innovation are positioned at the center of the model rather than seen as independent forces that are largely unaffected by policy.

Innovation economics is based on two fundamental tenets. One is that the central goal of economic policy should be to spur higher productivity and greater innovation. Second, markets relying on price signals alone will not always be as effective as smart public-private partnerships in spurring higher productivity and greater innovation. This is in contrast to the two other conventional economic doctrines, neoclassical economics and Keynesian economics.

A Definition for Innovation Economics

The Value of Social Currency

How big is this opportunity?

Roughly 10% of the US gross Domestic Product can be attributed directly to the process of evaluating or examining transactions.  This represents a 1.4 Trillion Dollar of value in a system that may be better organized, captured, and preserved through social networks and the conversations that they produce.

Social vetting on a scale that would allow social networks to monetize would require that communities organize their knowledge assets specifically for deployment to a market.  All that an entrepreneur needs to do is fill this need.

What happens if they don’t?

The true cost of vetting may be calculated by what happens in the absence of oversight, transparency, and disclosure. When the vetting process fails, so too does the industry.  The continuing financial crisis of 2008 was fueled by a failure to regulate mortgage backed securities.  The financial Crisis of 2002 arose from a failed accounting (CPA) profession.

The losses due to the absence of vetting mechanism exceeds by many times the cost of having a system in place.  The financial crises of 2002 and 2008 have together wiped out nearly 20 Trillion dollars of value and incurred high volatility to financial systems due to failed vetting mechanisms.   The people who held the knowledge about the impending doom had no effective medium to share.

Who vets KNOWLEDGE assets?

The flow of money lives and dies by the vetting mechanism.  CarFax, Experian, Ebay, Google owe their existence to the ability to vet information – However, they do not vet knowledge.  The ability to deliver the right knowledge asset to the right place, at the right time for the right price is tantamount to being able to “manufacturing innovation”, that is, to print money.  Inversely, the ability to foresee the result of specific knowledge assets deployed to specific business conditions is the Holy Grail of entrepreneurs.

Social networks can carry out this very important function of the Innovation economy; organize, locate, and develop knowledge assets in a form which can emulate a financial instrument.

How are things changing?

Emerging ideas such as conversational currency, relationship economics, innovation economics,. nd new ways to value intangibles are appearing in research blogs across the web.  Disruptions to Global finance, environmental policy, and the emergence of global currencies are setting the stage for a huge transformation in how society organizes itself.  Traditional industries such as print media, advertising, and banking are failing. Nothing is sacred except change.

Where are these communities, and what do they want?

Many communities exist today in a variety of forms and functions such as communities of practice, fellowships, service organizations, professional societies, trades groups, affinity groups, etc.  Increasingly they are moving to Social Media such as Facebook groups, Linkedin groups, Affinity groups, aggregation groups, and political action groups.  Communities are using social media technology to engage the knowledge domain contained within them.

As such, they will soon have ability to foresee the result of specific knowledge assets deployed to specific business conditions.  This is the Holy Grail of modern civilization.

The Relationship Economist

The Office of the Relationship Economist of the United States:

President Obama said in his inaugural address;

“Our workers are no less productive than when this crisis began. Our minds are no less inventive, our goods and services no less needed than they were last week or last month or last year. Our capacity remains undiminished”

This is true; so what changed?

Mr. Obama’s statement is profound; in a single stroke, he divorced human knowledge, talent, creativity, and intellect from dependency on the financial markets.  In one short statement, he reversed the old world order where economic growth drives relationships rather than relationships driving economic growth. Mr. Obama has made people tangible as financial instruments in their own right.  The language needed to change, only then could the relationships change and therefore, the economics.

Calculus: The Science of Change.

Change is everywhere.  The only thing certain is change itself. We vote for change we can believe in, we are aware of climate change, and we see the world constantly changing all around us. Each of these sentiments is an expression of the mathematical discipline of Calculus

Calculus got a bad rap with most of us in High School. Calculus has boring charts, funny symbols, strange sentences, and objects flying around in a frictionless space – nothing could be further from reality, so it seemed.  In reality, however, nothing could be simpler.  Early civilization noticed that seasons change over time. Farmers noticed that plants changed over time. Isaac Newton noticed that the speed of the apple changed over time as it fell.  Copernicus noticed that the location of the planets changed over time, etc.  We all notice and respond to change.

Economics: The science of Incentives:

Bankers noticed that the value of money could also change.  To lend money out for future repayment, there is a likelihood that something will change; good change, bad change, or no change. So, in order to avoid bad change and to keep good change, the lender charges “interest” on the money.  Interest represents the change of money over time – but not the reality of the change itself. Consequently, the change of money induced incentives for people to behave differently and this changed reality. For better and worse, reality reflected the incentives rather than the incentives reflecting reality.

The Language of Change:

Today our language is changing at an incredible speed – most words associated with the human condition have changed in definition over only a few decades ago. The words “relationship”, “society”, “marketing”, “innovation”, “media”, “democracy”, “productivity”, and many others, all have expanded meanings.  Now we need to create new words to describe new realities; Computer enabled society, Social Capitalism, Web 3.0, relationship economy, innovation economy.  What is the incentive?

Relationship: The Science of Communication

Now here is where Calculus gets complicated: If words are changing and communication is connected to the words, then communication is changing too.  If communication is changing, and productivity is connected to communication, then productivity is changing too. If productivity is changing, and the economy is connected to productivity, then the economy is changing too.

The Relationship Economy:

Just like money, the change in our relationships induces an incentive or disincentive to behave a certain way.  For better or worse, incentives will reflect reality rather than reality reflecting the incentibes.  That’s a game changer.

Social Media; An Alternate Universe of Wealth Creation

The Known Universe

The Known Universe

Computer enabled society has been called an “alternate universe“.  If Social Media intends to make serious money, perhaps it should act like one as well.  In finance, Risk is also often called an alternate universe.

Beneath the surface of this little 4 letter word resides a complex network of financial instruments that do far more to channel and direct the flow of money than any commercial trend, marketing campaign, or hot new web app.

Risk is actually a very simple thing to understand.  All you need to do is answer all three of the following simple questions:

1. Can I identify the peril?
2. What is the probability that the peril will get me?
3. If it does get me, what are the consequences?

The Insurance industry is absolutely gigantic – too important to fail – yet it produces nothing that can be held in the palm of one’s hand.  Insurance lives and breathes in an alternate universe of information.  Any place where these three questions cannot be fully and completely managed, you will find an insurance product.  Where there is no insurance product, there is no capitalism.

Here is how it works:  suppose there are 10 identical cabins in the woods.  Each cabin is worth exactly 1000 dollars.  There is a 100 percent probability that 1 of cabins will burn down every year, but nobody knows which.   Therefore, each cabin owner needs to have 1000 dollars sitting in a savings account in case their cabin burns that year.  Together, 10,000 dollars sits in a bank not being invested in productive enterprise.  Along comes an insurance company to reorganize the assets by offering to replace any cabin if all 10 cabins agree to pay 100 dollar per year premium (plus an admin fee). Now each of the cabin owners can pay 100 dollars per year and release 9000 dollars to the economy as productive capital.

Insurance opens the floodgates of wealth creation; bankers lend, investors invest, and entrepreneurs innovate where risks are reduced to zero; all bets are hedged.  But there is a trick; the peril must be identified (fire), the probability must be known (10%), and the consequences must be quantified ($1000).  This only works if the assets are pooled in identical lots that have the same probability of loss and suffer the same fate.  This is valuable information and it’s worth a whole lot of money.

Social Media is poised to open the floodgates of wealth creation in a similar way – by connecting local communities, neighborhoods, peers, and colleagues with computer enabled society.  Today, it is often easier, cheaper, and safer to make friends online than in person, but nothing tangible can really happen until the rubber meets the road;  people need to congregate.   The Ingenesist Project suggests that the 3 dimensions of human capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital can be identified, normalized, quantified and pooled into risk sharing cooperatives through social media as a means of eliminating innovation risk.

The trick is for society to organize itself in a slightly different way – this is where Social Media needs to position itself with the next generation of applications.  If so, the business model for social media will become hugely important to an innovation economy – too important to fail.

That Pesky Little Problem With Market Capitalism

Technological change must always precede economic growth.  We are going about the process of market capitalism as if economic growth can precede technological change.  Somewhere along the line we have gotten the cart in front of the mule.

It seems that this situation can be fairly easily corrected – after all, it’s the same cart and the same mule.  All we need to do is get the same driver to point the same carrot on the same stick in the opposite direction; and the system should turn itself around.  Impossible we ask? Well, maybe not….yet.

The same species…

Economic growth and technological change are the same species; each is represented by human productivity.  If I take a loan to buy a house, the debt is “counted” as economic growth backed by my future productivity.  If I go to work and invent a method that provides a better way for people to accomplish something, that same productivity increases with my innovation.  They should hedge each other much like insurance.  The problem arises when we forget to count the mule.

If A = C and B = C, then A = B

If any two currencies are backed by the same standard, they should be readily convertible.  If Euro’s and Dollars are both backed by Gold, they would be convertible between each other and the market can simply choose to trade one or the other.  Arbitrage opportunities would keep the system balance.

This is the same case with debt and innovation; two currencies represented by the same standard, i.e., productivity.

What if a new currency was introduced and pegged to human productivity?  That currency would also be proportional to the dollar. Arbitrage opportunities between debt and innovation currencies would seek a balance. The two scorecards would hedge each other as they should.

It is going to happen eventually, why wait?

While this may seem odd to talk about one State, two currencies, it is not so odd to talk about what happens if the dollar fails.  People will start trading a different currency.   The Plumber will trade ideas with the lawyer who will trade with the doctor, carpenter, teacher, grocer, laborer, etc.  A computer enabled society will build a knowledge inventory of who knows what.  Reputations will arise thus organizing knowledge in the form of a financial instrument.  This social medium will be the tool that organizes trading schemes and establishing supply and demand.  An Innovation Bank will keep track of who owes what to whom and distribute wealth in the form of tangential innovation.  Venture “capital” will be the cheapest money in town – it’s like money in the bank for an innovation economy. This is in fact, the nature of society and largely the function it has served for thousands of years.

Little carrot on a big stick

The difference between now and any other time in history is that society is computer enabled.  Human knowledge has been held hostage behind the construct of “intangible assets” on a corporate balance sheet for too long.  There is a great deal of energy building up and it can now find a productive outlet through social media.  The best government policy is to accommodate what people will do naturally.  It would be extremely inexpensive to empower society to form an innovation economy to hedge market capitalism. People need a currency that is first and foremost natural for them to trade.   Later, Wall Street can convert and gamble at their peril. But first, point the stick in a different direction and the system will correct itself.

[The Ingenesist Project (http://www.ingenesist.com) has specified three web application which if deployed to social media would allow social capital, creative capital, and intellectual capital to become tangible inside social networks.]

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