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 20 in the Social Capital sub-index is dominated by European countries from the North (particularly Scandinavia) – only Japan (12), Singapore (13) and Kyrgyzstan (19) break into the ranks
- The USA, due to comparable high crime rates, low availability of health services, and rising inequality, is ranked 142, just below Guinea-Bissau and above South Sudan.
- The UK is ranked 40, reflecting the deteriorating social fabric.
- China is ranked 34, India 90, Russia 127, and Brazil 148
- The highest ranked South American country are Argentina (55) and Ecuador (69); the highest-ranking African country Burkina Faso (73).
Dark areas indicate high social capital, light shades low social capital