Monday, February 23, 2009

What is Social Capital?

The concept of social capital is rather simple, but giving an basic all-encompasing definition of the term is not very simple. Most definitions given seem incomplete or a little off. Many thoughtful people have placed slightly different meanings to social capital. I chose to answer this simple question because it bugs me that I keep finding different answers whenever I look it up.

As an engineer, I will try to apply a universal meaning to the term. Know that "capital" is the means of production, and "social" is relating to human society and its members. A "society" is an extended social group having a distinctive cultural and economic organization.

Therefore, "social capital" must be the capability of a society and its members to engage in social interactions and activities within that society.

I am not fond of the term social captial anyway because usually capital is associated with money, so the term reminds me of the infamous socialist (communist) policy of treating human beings as capital such as machinery with finite value.

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