Exchanges are a hot topic in the social capital markets. They are appealing in the sense of the efficiency they promise. Efficiency is good – and it also has a dark side. This dark-side, which I’m considering the ‘inherent evil’ in exchanges, is their tendency to disconnect/dissociate the ‘buyer’ from the ‘seller’. It comes out in things like the sub-prime mess and rogue traders.
So how do we get the benefits of this ‘masterpiece’ of capitalism?
By using exchanges to:
- create and deepen connections;
- increase the richness of information and communication in those relationships; and
- craft and uphold agreements.
To me that means looking as much or more to social networks as it does financial exchanges. I know there are some folks working on local exchanges who have acknowledged this ‘evil’. I’ll be particularly interested to see how they address it – from all the angles I’ve looked so far it seems to be a tough balance.