Social Capital Why Is It Important to Trust Other People

Topics: Sociology, Economics, Economy Pages: 7 (2594 words) Published: August 6, 2007
Trust and social capital, which is such an attracted topic, which drove me to take this course, economy and society, directed plenty of discussions in today's global economy. Trust, as a bridge, links individuals together to be a society. It improved a better outcome to be achieved in human being life. Although cheating is everywhere, and I was cheated by my close friend so as to doubt whether I should trust other people or not; finally, I persist my belief that I should trust, trust other people to make my world better. Without trust, no happiness would exist. Trust, as the first step to establish human relationship, is one of core forms of social capital, which is significant to improve the social, political, especially economic life. First of all, let us see a case:

A mother, of six children, has moved with her husband and children from suburban Detroit to Jerusalem. One reason for doing so is that her young children have the greater freedom in Jerusalem. She feels it is safe to let her eight-year-old take the six-year-old across town to school on the city bus and to let her children play without supervision in a city park, neither of which did she feel able to allow where she lived before. The reason for the difference can be described as a difference of social capital available, between suburban Detroit and Jerusalem. In Jerusalem, unattended children would be taken care of by adult in this area; however, no such custom could be applied in most metropolitan cities in America. In other words, there is more social capital available in Jerusalem than that in American metropolitan areas. "Social capital", as a concept, was introduced by Loury to describe the set of resources that inhere in family relations and in community social organization and that are useful for the cognitive or social development of a child or young person. These resources differ for different persons and can constitute an important advantage for children and adolescents in the development of their human capital (Coleman 1990). Another sociologist Putnam defined this term that it refers to features of social organization, such as trust, norms, and networks that can improve the efficiency of society by facilitating coordinated actions (Dekker, Uslaner 2001). Furthermore, James Coleman developed the concept and described as the ability of people to work together for common purposes in groups and organizations (Fukuyama 1995). Although the definition of "social capital" has been modified by different people, the change is still little. Trust and social capital are always related tightly, and trust is one of crucial forms of social capital. Trust is the expectation that arises within a community of regular, honest, and cooperative behavior, based on commonly shared norms, which include the nature of God or justice and secular norms like professional standards and codes of behavior (Fukuyama 1995). It represents a distinct value, in the sense that it is highly valued by individuals, in economic life as well as elsewhere (Swedberg 2003). There are three different forms of trust in our daily life, which are personal, institutional and impersonal trust (Oleinik 2005). Personal trust is based on individual reputation. More reputation the person has, you would trust him more. While institutional trust is based on the organizational norms and codes in a corporative system. Moreover, impersonal trust is the common trust among people in a society, which is based on common norms, habits, and customs. Trust is the first step to establish social relationship. Without it, people would be cost more to get a certain outcome. In America, the declining in trust between physician and patient has caused an increase of medical care for certain treatments. Traditionally, the relationship between physician and patient has been one that patient places trust in the physician. Recently, trust has been declining in the society of America. "Don't trust people over 30" becomes...

Bibliography: Coleman, James S (1990) Foundation of Social Theory, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press
Fukuyama, Francis (1995) Trust: The Social Virtues and the Creation of Prosperity. New York: Free Press
Swederg, Richard (2003) Principles of Economic Sociology, Princeton University Press
Dekker, Paul, Uslaner, Eric M.(2001) Social Capital and Participation in Everyday Life, London: Routledge Press
Oleinik, Anton(2005) A distrustful Economy: An Inquiry into Foundations of the Russian Market. Journal of Economic Issues, 39,1:58-62
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