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Social Entrepreneurship as Algorithm: Is Social Enterprise Sustainable?

E:CO Issue, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 65-85, 2008

21 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2009  

Jeff Trexler

Pace University

Date Written: November, 26 2008


Social enterprise is charity's web 2.0 - a would-be revolution as open to interpretation as a Rorschach blot. For social enterprise to be more than the latest passing fad in doing good, we need a rigorous re-assessment of the link between system dynamics and social institutions.

To that end this article has three distinct yet related aims. First, I want to offer a new definition of social enterprise, one that reflects its essential nature as a simple rule with complex results. Besides re-defining social enterprise, my next goal is to provide an explanation for organizational altruism that goes beyond latching onto the latest popular trends. My alternative approach is to ground such concepts as civil society and corporate charity within corporate identity itself - in particular, the historic function of organizational form as a means of modeling emergent patterns. This article's final aim is to explain how social enterprise can have its greatest sustainable impact - by making itself obsolete.

Keywords: social enterprise, social entrepreneurship, nonprofit, charity, law, corporate law, corporation, corporate identity, bubbles, economics, science, emergence, social science, systems, networks, social networks, civil society, philanthropy, fractals

JEL Classification: M14

Suggested Citation

Trexler, Jeff, Social Entrepreneurship as Algorithm: Is Social Enterprise Sustainable? (November, 26 2008). E:CO Issue, Vol. 10, No. 3, pp. 65-85, 2008. Available at SSRN:

Jeff Trexler (Contact Author)

Pace University ( email )

One Pace Plaza
White Plains, NY New York 10603
United States
2123461267 (Phone)


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