Socialized Capital — The next evolution of Capitalism?

One of my personal heroes is Professor Muhammad Yunus, the founder and former managing director of Grameen Bank.  A social entrepreneur who inadvertently birthed the idea of Microcredit.  From it spawned a new era in financing, while modeled for the poor — Grameen Bank’s ideas and basics spawned everything from Kiva, which I’m a member of, to Kickstarter and Indiegogo.  Microcredit/Microfinance/Crowdfinance has gone from an uncertainty, to a now accepted business practice, with everything from money for the poor, to basement start-ups and high-tech entrepreneurs who are just looking for a fresh infusion of capital to get them going, when they may not qualify for a traditional loan or grant otherwise.  This socially-geared form of finance has proven highly successful, both in “grant” style, and in loan-repayment style — Kiva often bills itself as having higher repayment rates than most banks in the United States do.

The world’s economy has gone through three major cycles in it’s history:

The Agrarian economy, which was from the birth of civilization, till about the industrial revolution, which consisted of land owners as the upper class, and the land workers as the lower class.  Land was the king here.  Agriculture and husbandry was the big thing here.

The Capitalist economy, which took off during the industrial revolution, and continued through to World War II.  Here, MONEY was the king.  You had Capitalists as the upper class, and the Blue collar people as the middle and lower class.  Here, it was about paper money, and [generally] unskilled labor.

The Post-Capitalist economy began after World War II, was a drastic shift from where simply having money didn’t mean you made money.  You now needed to have knowledge.  Knowledge-based workers are the upper class, more often than not, and service-based workers are the middle and lower classes, more often than not.  Those who succeed MAY have a healthy dose of capital, but it’s usually more often that their knowledge in an industry or a specific sub-set of skills makes them successful in their given area.

Is this the future of capitalism in the world?  Will the 21st century be the birth of the next evolution in our world’s economy?

Some Links:

Professor Muhammad Yunus talks about the birth of his idea of Microcredit
 Some background on Amartya Sen, another economist I admire

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