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Social capital: a building-block in creating a better global future

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This article presents a South African's perspective on the possible role of social capital in achieving long-term sustainable human and economic development in the world. Social capital is defined as the presence of effective human networks and social cohesion, which are manifested in effective institutions and processes where people can co-operate for mutual advantage. This article postulates that social capital can help societies to achieve internal evolution towards sustainable development in a manner that can resolve the problem of the commons. It proposes that three "tipping points" drive socio-economic development: open society; economic growth; and creative minorities ‐ including an entrepreneurial class. Social capital provides a supportive environment for these tipping points and, in this case, more is better. Ways to create more social capital are discussed with reference to the sources of social capital. These include the freedom to form networks, anti-corruption measures, sanctions against transgressors, using the budget as well as the potential contribution of social transformation policies.
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Keywords: Globalization; Social economics

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2004-02-01

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