Academic journal article Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences

Development and Culture: Manifestation of Social Capital in European Union and India

Academic journal article Madhya Pradesh Journal of Social Sciences

Development and Culture: Manifestation of Social Capital in European Union and India

Article excerpt

Development, as a process, does not entirely depend on economic factors. Human development also governs development, and therefore equally pertinent question to be answered shall be relating to self-understanding and the processes of social interaction. Development, in its turn, could neutralise the regional, linguistic, ethnic and communal aspirations. But the political differences of different countries and different states in a country are manifested by the cultural construct of the aspiring entities. This paper aims to develop understanding of the links between culture and development in India and European Union (EU). The paper is divided in three sections; the first section documents the role culture played in economic development in EU. The second section presents the way social capital manifest in village democracy and market (credit and labour) institutions in India. The last section documents implications of these cultural experiences to development. European experience has indicated that the positive effects of social capital on economic performance would become apparent in situations where transaction costs are high. Therefore, only when development and trade activities emerged in Italy in the second half of the nineteenth century social capital did affect the potential for economic growth. In Indian conditions, especially in remote rural areas, market and state failures have invited intense community participation in informal institutions governing land-man relations, law and dispute resolution. This has helped in developing and perpetuating social capital; the informal institutional arrangements that replace markets and formal legal institutions, more often than not, result in mutually beneficial exchanges that helps creation and perpetuation of social capital Added to it, the civil society has given the community the needed support for trust and cooperation to be visible in different spheres. The inability of the community to invest its social capital for local development has its roots within the weaknesses of economic and political elites that are individualistic and brings heterogeneity. Given this milieu, if the economic inequality is marginal, the community is more likely to invest its social capital. But if the economic inequality is intense, the social capital remains dormant and under-utilised. Evidences from relatively remote areas also establish that virtuous and vicious investment of social capital can take place simultaneously. The non-poor have started trusting outsiders without losing the bound within. Findings have shown that it is possible to trust outsiders without losing or reducing trust within the community. Trust within is clearly important as cooping the remoteness by creating bonds but bridging the distance with outsider provides opportunities. Evidence also reveals that trust governs the credit and hence labour market. Hence, whether to migrate or work within village depends on whom you trust; the local moneylender-cumlarge farmers or the middlemen of the construction industry. In the former case, one would be guided to take up local labour in the village while in the latter case, one would be forced to migrate.

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Development, as a process, does not entirely depend on economic factors. Human development also governs development, and therefore equally pertinent question to be answered shall be relating to self-understanding and the processes of social interaction. Development, in its turn, could neutralise the regional, linguistic, ethnic and communal aspirations. But the political compulsions of different countries and different states within a country are visible in the cultural construct of the aspiring entities. Culture is important for developing a sense of identity, attachment, and social participation. Culture affects the economic climate of a country or region through political participation, decision making and accountability of taken decisions. Culture is also decisive for political environment like freedom of expression and the establishment of free media and other institution for critical debate, conflict, and its management, shaping opinions and engaging in democratic process. …

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