Money always has been around, even in the Middle Ages and before that.
Capital makes the world go round. But besides money, (local) bartering was BIG. However we said goodbye to the old bartering systems during the industrial revolution, as these bartering systems were no longer efficient enough.
So more and more, instead of bartering, we gave during the past century money a key function in our economic life. In the beginning of the crisis around 1990 the (only) answer of governments obviously was to inject the system with a staggering amount of money as lubricant to keep the wheels turning.
However under the influence of the present financial crisis, the lack of trust in the traditional institutions and in some cases the need to survive, we start to see people doing things for other people without the involvement of money. And not only 'do' things. Value creation, knowledge exchange and sharing without money involved have become hot topics:
Creating and sharing value with people you trust, with no money involved, is called "social capital'.
The 3 Dimensions of social capital.
Social capital consists of 3 dimensions:
- Relational : can I trust the others and can they trust me?
- Cognitive : do we have a shared vision, do we have the same goals?
- Structural : connections and social ties. It is impossible to create social capital just by yourself.
Social capital can neither be quantified (to call it capital is actually a bit misleading in this sense) nor can it be contracted via an individual. It is social capital, i.e., the value is inherent in social relations. This is exactly what makes it so difficult for traditional companies to deal effectively with knowledge and creativity.
The present increase of social capital in larger collectives is due to the presence of peer-communities within social networks. Groups of people who trust the collective and therefore have a willingness to share.
The collaborative consumption value creation
is based on this phenomenon.
The Netherlands30, or any other Western country in Society30, only becomes sustainable when traditional and social capital is balanced.
As this is not the case yet, we better hope that trust in the Dutch banking system remains solid. After all, we have a collective dept
of 400 billion Euros and our government is directly guaranteeing another 1000 billion Euros. And indirectly (as a back up for bank failures) over 2200 billion Euros.
I am glad that social capital cannot be quantified and I suggest we keep it that way!