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Ethics and social capital for global well-being

  • Patricia Illingworth

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    Social capital is associated with considerable benefits for individuals and communities. Because some social capital is non-excludable, people may be disinclined to undertake activities that will create it. This is especially likely when the norm of self-interest is prominent. In addition, given the birds of a feather phenomenon, social capital appears to thrive in homogenous networks, and to languish in the face of diversity. I argue that social capital meets the criteria of a moral concept and that treating it as such can address these vulnerabilities. In particular, as a moral principle, social capital would be more demanding than mere self-interest and the moral requirement of universality would trigger a duty to act impartially with respect to networks. Since market interactions can create social capital, and social capital is a moral good, market interactions are in part constitutive of the good. I also argue that global social capital is important for both global well-being and sustainable globalization. Given the benefits of social capital, including it in the choice architecture as a moral principle will be worth the investment. Copyright Springer-Verlag 2012

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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s12232-012-0160-2
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    Article provided by Springer in its journal International Review of Economics.

    Volume (Year): 59 (2012)
    Issue (Month): 4 (December)
    Pages: 389-407

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:inrvec:v:59:y:2012:i:4:p:389-407
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    1. Devesh Kapur, 2001. "Diasporas and Technology Transfer," Journal of Human Development and Capabilities, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 2(2), pages 265-286.
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