SPL Coin & the societies of emerging knowledge in late-capitalism

Human progress over the centuries is bound to the application of knowledge. Currently, we are living in the midst of the transition, where traditional and knowledge economies co-exist in a somewhat uneasy balance around the world. At the same time, the emerging social economies’ concept is coming to shake things up some more.

UNESCO (2005) report describes a knowledge society as one which is nurtured by its diversity and its capacities. Another important feature proposed by UNDP is that knowledge societies must foster knowledge sharing. As knowledge is recognized as public incentive and must be available to every individual of the society, knowledge sharing is requisite. Knowledge and technology suggest the heart and mind of global economy. Policy makers of today must prolong the country’s existing capabilities through careful and rewarding investments in education, institutional quality, and relevant technology. But how did we get there?

For the past decades, people approached the notion of ‘knowledge’ in a completely different way. The current period is now widely known as the beginning of the Knowledge Age — distinguishing it from the Industrial Age. Knowledge Age is a new, advanced form of capitalism in which knowledge and ideas are the main source of economic growth and prosperity. A wide range of work requisites and business practices have been developed, and consequently, new kind of workers with totally different skillsets are needed. How we grasp the concept of ‘knowledge’ is also shifting from a stiffer to a more energetic ‘material’. Knowledge Age knowledge is defined — and valued- not for what is, but for what it can do.

Modern reality calls for innovative technologies and financial tools able to support industries that are not only on the rise for the first time but are also almost entirely based on providing services. The main attributes of the current economic environment now draws our attention to: (1) the efficient exploitation of new resources and linkage between IT and businesses, (2) the notable value shifting from transactions to relationships which prioritizes new management methods tapping into new reservoirs of innovation, adopting new ways of customers or leading to better tacit interactions, (3) the flexible business flux where dynamic web-driven global knowledge of today flows and agile online models for computing and collaboration are now a major change agent, (4) business changes such as more rapid business cycles and faster media feedback loops are becoming a norm and not an exception, and (5) the addition of a new dimension of organizational management of ‘social businesses’ altering the decision making process and the autonomy and self-organization status.

As the renewed interest for collaborative economies now shifts towards the Social and Solidarity industries, one of the key goals of SPL is to maximize both people’s participation and benefiting from this transforming force. The underlying driver of SPL Coin is to provide support to the Humanitarian Aid and Solidarity Market, to national and international volunteer work and the societal Coops and Enterprises, and to foster several developmental projects. Ultimately, SPL Coin suggests an applicable technical solution towards future societies of knowledge.

However, actually understanding ‘knowledge’ poses one of the central challenges when attempting to come up with a definition for the ‘knowledge societies’ of today. The knowledge-based economy analyses economic organization and development when the creation, distribution and use of knowledge become decisive factors along with the human factor. The competitive edge of companies, whatever their size or sector of activity, basically lies in their ability to mobilize and combine knowledge and skills in order to come up with integrated solutions that meet increasingly complex problems and differentiated needs.

Consequently, sharing economy arises as the new branch of the knowledge economy challenging our thinking on developing new approaches for maximizing business performance. Knowledge becomes not only a strategic resource in our toolkit but the primary contributing factor informing our strategic choices as well. Having said that, the modernization of the old determinism-based model is now considered necessary — especially given the rapidly growing pace of digital environments.

The agony to achieve the above has led to a transformation when it comes to the relationship between senior and lower hierarchy agents too. From traditional structures that are mainly top-down, we are now witnessing the blooming of newer ones that actively boast self-managing teams with managers counseling them or even the complete abolition of formal hierarchies of rank. While hierarchy safeguards a certain level of security and stability in progress, its absence frees workers to act more creatively and collaboratively. Moreover, as employees increasingly self-organize, they begin to experiment in various ways, from peer-to-peer and open source projects to social entrepreneurship initiatives, bartering circles and new forms of lending.

Summing up, to address these problems and actively take a stand in socioeconomic progress, it is necessary to develop a more pluralistic, and more importantly nurturing, perspective of the knowledge economy. As stated earlier, for SocialPolis team, the greatest challenge of all is to succeed in providing the appropriate tech solutions to transform information into knowledge. Why is that? Because in the Era of sharing knowledge, it is of crucial importance to support a cultural and social system that converts available information into scientific and technological values used in everyday life making sure that knowledge economy and social Economy grow aligned and follow similar routes in the years to come.

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