"From Fragmentation to Function (48 pages in pd): Critical Concepts and Writings on Social Capital Markets' Structure Operation, and Innovation," by Jed Emerson and Joshua Spitzer, From the Skoll Center for Entrepreneurship at the Said School of Business, Oxford University. The paper is compendious and scholarly, and towards the end charming. In the conclusion the authors circle about the core problem: people want different things; they don't agree about what a better world might be; one person's meat is another's poison; plus, people are complex and make decisions based on passion, prejudice, taste, faith, superstition, vanity, pride, and whim, as well as on reason. Some prefer the Circus to the Stock market, or Carnival to Wall St. Some give to escape the charnal house of capitalism. Hence the desire to create a reason-based social capital market that encompasses organizes and controls what we now call giving, or philanthropy, or benefaction (good deeds) is in effect conceptually flawed. It is an attempt to advance a business person's world-view, and sense of propriety, one that does not comprehend the fluid, multiplex, fractious universe of things we call giving or philanthropy very well. The authors don't say that, any more than would an Alchemist admit to a Prince that the well funded effort to transmute horse dung into gold will never work. As one view of a better world, social capital markets has its place, but as the wrapper within which all views must find a home, with tables, graphs, and numbers, I don't think so. There will always be givers who despise the aridity of this vision. Jesus was no accountant. As Blake wrote, in his hellish proverbs, "The cistern contains, the fountain overflows." (For an enthusiastic review of the paper see Susan Herr at Philanthromedia.)
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