Elements of social capital
The Social Capital of a nation is the sum of social stability and the well-being (perceived or real) of the entire population. Social Capital generates social cohesion and a certain level of consensus, which in turn delivers a stable environment for the economy, and prevents natural resources from being over-exploited. Social Capital is not a tangible value and therefore hard to measure and evaluate in numeric values. In addition to local historical and cultural influences, the social consensus in a society is affected by several factors: health care systems and their universal availability/affordability (measuring physical health); income and asset equality, which are correlated to crime levels; demographic structure (to assess the future generational balance within a society); and freedom of expression, freedom from fear and the absence of violent conflicts that are required for businesses to be able to generate value.
The Social Capital World Map
The top-ten in the Social Capital sub-index is dominated by European countries from the North – all 5 Nordic countries, plus Germany, Slovenia Luxembourg, Netherlands, and Belgium. Interestingly (and despite gender deficits), Kuwait (14) Qatar (16) and Oman (17) make the top 20 thanks to health services available to all, low crime rates, and good public services. Japan (12) is the only other non-European country in the Top-20. The USA, due to comparable high crime rates and low availability of health services, is ranked 114, just below Liberia and before Afghanistan, while the UK is ranked 22. China is ranked 50, India 110, and Brazil 118. The highest ranked South American country is Costa Rica (62).
Dark areas indicate high social capital, light shades low social capital
Most African nations, particular within and south of the Sahel zone, are at the bottom of this list, due to a combination of low availability of health care services and child mortality, limited freedom of expression and unstable human rightssituation.