Asian Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 1, Issue 1, pp 15-34

First online:

Making social capital produce for society: on the US financial crisis and capital credit

  • Xiaohe LuAffiliated withCenter for Business Ethics, Shanghai Academy of Social Sciences Email author 


The global financial crisis, triggered by the subprime mortgage crisis in the USA, raises an important issue—namely, private production without the control of private property. The credit system has concentrated increasingly large social assets into the hands of financial institutions governed by a few people. This paper argues that the use of social capital for private production has played a key role in causing the subprime mortgage crisis. The credit and banking systems have abolished the private nature of capital and have instead provided a basis for organizing and implementing social production. However, these systems have not “overcome the antithesis between the character of wealth as social and as private.” Therefore, it behooves us to explore what we can learn from the US financial crisis concerning how best to protect social interests, i.e., how to make the social capital produce for society.


Social capital Financial crisis Capital credit Fictitious production of surplus value Business ethics