This is day two of a conference in San Francisco on the broad topic of Capitalism at the Crossroads. It came to my attention via this post from Fred Wilson of Union Square Ventures.

Today Fred writes about a panel he’s moderating on how globalization and outsourcing are changing the future of labor. It triggers a concern on my mind a lot and one I’ve written about before, small businesses are more like consumers than enterprise. And, the failure to recognize that has left major gaps in how we think about the small business economy. By small business I mean the employer and non-employer firms that serve our neighborhoods and communities, maybe offer a unique product or service in a supply chain or marketplace. For many, the business is the owner and the owner is the business.

Of course this matters in credit because personal data about the owner, including his or her consumer credit scores, are used in business credit analysis. It’s why I hammer on the fact that consumer protections for abusive data collection or erroneous data do not protect the small business owner even when data is sourced from consumer credit. Our approach has been to offer a great data-sharing service for such business owners to fill the gap because we know it will give creditors greater visibility. In the coming weeks, I’ll be writing more on how and why this seemingly counter-intuitive approach works.

For now, my point is that we are witnessing a major shift in how we make a living. From counting on employment and perks, mostly gone but still in our dreams, to each of us is our own employer. At a time when even existing consumer protections are under attack, we must find better ways to provide basic tools of trust, from identity verification to proof of creditworthiness/ that are transparent and accountable.

In spite of my past as a lawyer, it excites me to think we can leverage technology to achieve the best of outcomes with no incredibly painful (and likely hopeless near term) advocacy for a broader regulatory framework.

–The founder