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The High Cost of Cheap Social Capital

This paper briefly reviews the theory of social, negative, and cheap social capital and then explains the popularity and the high cost of cheap social capital. Next, this paper points out that our voluntary exchanges (which are enabled by prospects of mutual gain) and the high cost of involuntary exchanges (which are entered into in response to threats and defensive and destructive acts) both reflect our responses to the same physical and socio-emotional needs. Therefore, what differentiates our responses to similar needs are the relationships we have with others—whether they are social, negative, or cheap. Finally, this paper offers some suggestions for avoiding the high cost of cheap social capital.

The Cheap Side of Social Capital

Earned, inherited, and covenant commonalities enable persons and groups of people to develop sympathy and empathy for each other. The sympathy and empathy that one person or group has for another person or group is defined here as social capital. The absence of commonalities often results in relationships of apathy and antipathy that one person or group has for another person or group, defined here as negative social capital. People and groups that share negative social capital for the same person or group can form cheap social capital relationships characterized by the couplet—the enemy of my enemy is my strange bedfellow.

Economics Imperialism and Social Capital Relationship between social capital and economics

Export Reference Download PDF Print During the 1990s, national governments and international agencies such as the World Bank, OECD, and UNDP discovered social capital, heralding it as the ‘missing link’ in explaining development outcomes and an important factor to build and utilise for improved program performance (Harriss, 2002). This was primarily driven by the World […]

What is social capitalism?

Social capitalism is any capitalist system that is structured with the ideology of liberty, equality, and justice. Instead of aiming to accumulate only economic forms of capital, it explicitly values all forms of capital, including social capital, human capital, and natural capital. Instead of maximising profit for the 1%, it involves profit maximisation for all […]

Solving sustainability with social capital? A paradoxical reframing of modernity?

In 1962 Rachel Carson published the book Silent Spring which thrust environmental problems into public awareness and is widely credited with inspiring the environmental movement. Yet nearly 60 years later it doesn’t seem there has been much progress towards sustainability. There has been extensive scientific investigation of environmental issues and leading scientists have twice (1992 […]

Sources of Social Capital What causes or creates social capital?

Export Reference Download PDF Print Much of the literature on social capital poorly distinguishes its source from its form and consequences. It can be very difficult to make these distinctions since many social phenomena involve complex interrelationships with complicated cyclic, relational, and mutual causality. This article discusses a wide range of sources of social capital, […]

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Export Reference Download PDF Print Social capital theory has been heralded as a very important conceptual innovation. It emphasises social dimensions that have typically been marginalised by the dominant paradigm of individualism and economic rationalism. It helps to reverse the undersocialised view that assumes that humans are rational and self-interested, and largely beyond the influence […]

Social capital in economics

Export Reference Download PDF Print For economists, the term ‘social capital’ allows for the consideration of social factors that are normally beyond the purview of economic analysis. Despite their intangible nature, economists since at least David Hume and Adam Smith have been interested in the role of social factors such as trust, reputation, norms and […]

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