Social Equity

If Darth Vader met Count Dracula and they had a baby in the Matrix, it might look like this: today’s financial markets, where “high-frequency trading” done by passionless algorithms to filch speculative pennies in the ponzi-scheme-of-the-moment from enemy robots outweighs, well, real investment by real humans in real endeavour of real worth. Consider, for a moment, the three most highly touted IPOs of the last several years: Groupon, Zynga, and Facebook. Now, consider, despite billions invested, not just how poorly both shareholders have done–but how little of enduring, real value has been accomplished. The problem isn’t the ponzi scheme of the moment–it’s that equity as we know it was built to flip. Equity as we know it is fast becoming a crumbling relic, that, especially in a world where markets are arenas for algorithms to short-circuit each other into oblivion, lends itself to ponzi schemes of little higher purpose. Social equity is how organizations built to do stuff that matters are capitalized–think of it as ownership of a post-financial stake; a shareholding not merely in a future stream of profits, but in a future flow of outcomes.

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