Discuss the Concept “Social Capital” with Regard to Development of Welfare Policy in Your Own Country.

Topics: Sociology, Poverty, Economics Pages: 8 (2350 words) Published: January 7, 2013
Discuss the concept “social capital” with regard to development of welfare policy in your own country. Social capital is a multidimensional concept however it has consistently emerged in the literature of theoretical and applied social sciences like economics, sociology since the mid 1990s. In fact there is no universally accepted definition of social capital. In the broadest sense, the term encompasses those social relationships that help people to get along with each other and act more effectively than they could as isolated individuals. In this view, patterns of social organization, especially trust, mutuality, and reciprocity, are seen as important resources, which can result in benefits to individuals, groups, and society. The narrowest concept of social capital is associated with Putnam (Putnam 1993) who views it as a set of “horizontal associations” between people: social capital consists of social networks (“networks of civic engagement”) and associated norms that have an effect on the productivity of the community. Now we may describe the various dimension of social capital, such as-

Social dimension:

Based on long sociological tradition, Coleman (1988) defined social capital as inhering in the structure of inter-personal relations, yielding value by enhancing individuals' abilities to further their interests. Social capital is embedded in society rather than in any one individual, but is given value by the individuals and organizations that use it to further their individual or collective interests. He also explicit that social capital is valuable in facilitating certain actions may be useless or even harmful for others.

Robert Putnam who drew the concept from Cloeman defined social capital as "those features of social organization such as networks, norms and social trust that that can improve the efficiency of society by facilitating coordinated actions (Puntam, 1993) or as " features of social life- networks, norms and trust that enable participants to act together more effectively to pursue shared objectives (Puntam, 1995).

Economic dimension:

Social capital is a mechanism of economic growth. Traditionally, the concept of capital has included natural, physical—or produced—and human capital as the main building blocks of economic development and growth. It is now recognized that these three types of capital determine only part of the process of economic growth, because they overlook the way in which the economic actors interact and organize themselves to generate growth and development. The missing link, in other words, is social capital (Grootaert, 1997).

According to Uphoff (2000), social capital can be understood in terms of two distinguishable but interrelated categories: structural and cognitive. The structural category, broadly speaking, is associated with social organization of various kinds and particularly with roles and rules, while the cognitive category is based on mental processes and psychology in the domain of ideas and includes particularly norms, values, attitudes, and beliefs.

That means social capital of a society includes the institutions, the relationships, the attitudes and values that govern interactions among people and contribute to economic and social development. By the consideration of above discussion we can say that social capital is an asset, created by trust, social norms, networks, solidarity and social cohesion embedded in individuals of a community.

Social capital with regard to development of welfare policy in Bangladesh:

Bangladesh is the most vulnerable of the South Asian economies in view of its extremely high population density and high incidence of natural disaster. Poverty has been assigned as the number one problem for development of Bangladesh. Though the country is making significant progress in the socio-economic field, poverty reduction is rather slow. This is mainly because of its high population size of 130 million (population...

Bibliography: 1. Coleman, J. (1988). Social capital in the creation of human capital. American Journal of Sociology, 94: pp. 95-120.
2. Grootaert, C. (1997). “Social capital: The missing link?” In Expanding the Measure of Wealth: Indicators of Environmentally Sustainable Development. Environmentally Sustainable Development Studies and Monographs Series No. 7. Washington, DC: The World Bank.
3. Mondal, Abdul Hye. (2000) Social capital formation: The role of NGO Rural Development Programs in Bangladesh. Policy Sciences Vol. 33: 459-475.
4. Pargal, Sheoli & Gilligan, Daniel & Huq, Mainul,. (2000) Private provision of a public good - social capital and solid waste management in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Policy Research Working Paper Series 2422, The World Bank.
5. Putnam, Robert D. (1993) Making democracy work. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
6. Putnam, R. (1995, December). Tuning in, tuning out: The strange disappearance of social capital in America. The 1995 Ithiel de Sola Pool Lecture. Political Science and Politics, pp. 664-683.
7. Uphoff, N. (2000) Understanding social capital: learning from the analysis and experiences of participation. In Dusgupta, P., and Serageldin, I (Eds.), Social Capital : A Multifaceted Perspective (pp. 215-249). The World Bank. Washington D.C.
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