This paper explores ways in which knowledge management (KM) can enrich and be enriched by practices associated with social‐level knowledge‐based development (KBD), thus bridging both fields. It begins by establishing a continuity between personal‐, organizational‐ and social‐level KM. Social‐level KBD is referred to economic growth theory in search of a complete, consistent, systematic and inclusive framework for global development. Enter capital systems, a KM framework aiming to satisfy those criteria at the organizational level. The capital systems approach, originally developed as a solution to some methodological concerns in intellectual capital valuation, is described as the operationalization of a generic value structure. Such a structure is applied to the analysis of production or value‐enhancing dynamics underlying major economic eras throughout human history until the present day. Structural constraints in current financing for development practices are identified. New knowledge‐based development strategies are explored and, finally, examples of current KBD policies are examined in the light of this analysis and alternative strategies to systematically identify and develop individual, organizational and capital systems are suggested.
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