Browse by title

You are looking at 1 - 10 of 23 items :

  • Evolutionary Economics x
  • Economics and Finance x
  • Sociology and Sociological Theory x
Clear All
You do not have access to this content

Gunnar L.H. Svendsen and Gert T. Svendsen

As argued in Chapter 2, free-riding and defection do not escalate because of social sanctioning systems, resulting in win–win outcomes among agents when cooperation succeeds. High trust means that the risk of being cheated is low, as it is possible to predict the behavior of the other agent in relation to a norm. Arguably, a sufficient number of norm enforcers facilitate this unique collective insurance system. Measuring bridging social capital as social trust, our ranking of 86 countries showed that the Scandinavian welfare states (Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland) top the list. Based on Bourdieu’s approach to intangible capital, we derived a theoretical framework of Bourdieuconomics encompassing trust, social capital, and symbolic, cultural and physical capital that could all be converted to economic capital. Hence we argued that Bourdieu’s (1986) seminal idea of mutually convertible forms of tangible and intangible capital (economic, cultural, social, symbolic) can be united with a rational choice framework. The latter should however take seriously into consideration the high risks of labor time investments made by the single actor in complex situations rich in socio-economic considerations and strategies. Our contribution in this book was to fill a gap in the literature by focusing on real-life capital strategies in the universal welfare state of Denmark at the micro or local level, that is, in situ.
You do not have access to this content

Gunnar L.H. Svendsen and Gert T. Svendsen

Chapter 4 gave another example of civil society, namely a multifunctional meeting place and the kulturhus. Social capital is about people who meet, get to know each other and help each other in various ways. Therefore, it appears odd that discussions on meeting places and social capital are rare in the literature. This chapter therefore discussed such linkages in the Scandinavian welfare state, here termed socio-spatial planning. It raised the question: How can public meeting places facilitate the creation of bridging social capital? The chapter suggested that one possible way of securing regular, inter-group face-to-face meetings would be to establish multifunctional centers. Such buildings include: public services such as health care, schools, libraries; private enterprises such as grocers’ shops and banks; and facilities for local associations such as theatres and sports halls. Cases from the Netherlands and Denmark indicate that such large meeting places help counteract the segregation of various groups – be they ethnic, social or age. In this way, a well-functioning multifunctional center facilitates provision of the collective goods of integration, social trust and bridging social capital in the welfare state. Overall, Chapters 3 and 4 gave examples of the workings of social capital and its lubricator, trust, within the civil society.
You do not have access to this content

Gunnar L.H. Svendsen and Gert T. Svendsen

Chapter 3 then introduced civil society and looked at two local communities, namely Klitmøller and Karby. By the use of statistical, historical and fieldwork data from these two peripheral rural communities in Denmark, it was demonstrated how intangible capital in the form of social, organizational and cultural capital was used in situ, at the micro level. We suggested that the difference in economic performance between these two very similar communities – both high-trust communities – should be explained in their varying ability to capitalize upon local stocks of prevailingly intangible capital. Klitmøller manages well, as mirrored in population increase, which could be explained by numerous hard-riders and volunteers, an open inclusive culture and effective organizational capital. Karby suffers from a steady population decline and is managing less well, something we explained as a result of fewer hard-riders (only three or four “draught animals”) to secure positive local development, as well as less openness towards the surrounding world. Overall, meeting places were found to be crucial for specific and social trust to lubricate bridging social capital. And indeed there were many more “public” meeting places for all in Klitmøller, while “private” meeting places prevailed in Karby.
You do not have access to this content

Gunnar L.H. Svendsen and Gert T. Svendsen

This content is available to you

Gunnar L.H. Svendsen and Gert T. Svendsen

This content is available to you

Gunnar L.H. Svendsen and Gert T. Svendsen

You do not have access to this content

Gunnar L.H. Svendsen and Gert T. Svendsen

Chapter 6 turned to the private sector and combined Bourdieuconomics with prisoner’s dilemma theory. It was demonstrated how private entrepreneurs convert – or do not convert – social capital into economic capital. Against this background, and combining sociology and microeconomics, we analyzed specific strings of capital conversion in time and space. We generally argued that people perpetually transform tangible and intangible forms of capital according to certain “laws of conversion.” More specifically, we focused on how private entrepreneurs actually behaved in everyday life. This was done by applying prisoner’s dilemma (PD) game theory to the empirical patterns from extensive in-depth interviews with private entrepreneurs in Denmark. The four Danish cases illustrated cooperation versus defection outcomes in the PD matrix. The first three games were successful win–win games. The fourth game ended up in a “conversion failure,” which landed the entrepreneur in the “wrong” PD quadrant. Overall, it is observed how entrepreneurs often succeed in actually capitalizing on beneficial bridging and bonding social capital in a Scandinavian welfare state like Denmark.
You do not have access to this content

Gunnar L.H. Svendsen and Gert T. Svendsen

Chapter 5 focused on the public sector, where libraries function as an important meeting place in the Scandinavian welfare state. Public libraries are eminent providers and facilitators of human and social capital, not least in small rural communities, where such meeting places are becoming scarce in many parts of the world. Drawing on data from a questionnaire survey, the chapter reported on social capital creation at branch libraries in 62 rural municipalities in Denmark, as reported by the municipal library managers. A main empirical result was the extensive collaboration between the branch libraries and other public institutions in the local area, which often also involved volunteers from the civic society. Hence it was demonstrated that, besides micro-level social capital, the use of valuable social capital was also stimulated at the meso level among public and voluntary institutions collaborating on local core and noncore library services. In this way, public libraries not only facilitate the use of two well-known types of social capital – bonding and bridging – but also stimulate a highly valuable third type, institutional social capital. The closing down of more than half of branch libraries in rural Denmark since 1988 is partly due to politicians being ignorant of the great socio-economic value of these “gracious spaces,” which have a strong capacity to foster “full-scale” community social capital consisting of all three types of social capital.
This content is available to you

Gunnar L.H. Svendsen and Gert T. Svendsen

You do not have access to this content

Trust, Social Capital and the Scandinavian Welfare State

Explaining the Flight of the Bumblebee

Gunnar L.H. Svendsen and Gert T. Svendsen

Denmark exemplifies the puzzle of socio-economic success in Scandinavia. Populations are thriving despite the world’s highest levels of tax and generous social benefits. Denmark would appear to be a land of paradise for free-riders and those who want ‘money for nothing’. However, the national personality is characterized both by cooperation in everyday life and the numerous ‘hard-riders’ who make extraordinary contributions. Applying Bourdieuconomics, the authors focus on contemporary case studies to explain how social capital and trust are used to counteract free-riding and enable the flight of the Scandinavian welfare state ‘bumblebee’.