Why is it so important?
Though we often use the word capital, it is very-little understood.
1. Michael Novak¹ of the American Enterprise Institute talks about capital extensively. He tells us that it is a diminutive of Latin, capit or caput, which is "of the head."
2. Robert Putnam² of Harvard University says that social capital expands "...what we know about our levels of trust and community engagement..." such that one gets involved in "...developing strategies and efforts to increase this engagement."
3. Chuck McConnell³ of NETA, one of the fundamental thinkers within the PBS family, was reflecting about one of the PBS campaigns to encourage the growth of social capital throughout the USA and the world. He cautioned us all, "Social capital is like scripture. It depends on who is writing about it and who is reading it. It can mean different things and sometimes the meanings appear mutually exclusive."
So, even with Chuck's words of caution, yet in light of the mission of SmallBusinessSchool to constantly exegete the very nature of creativity and the creation of value, we believe the very best of small business is always about the creation of social capital.
This conclusion becomes quickly apparent by studying just a few of the episodes of the show and by following the hyperlinks to that episode's case study guide, transcript, and executive summary.
The SmallBusinessSchool working premise about social capital is a statement about value creation. They epitomize Robert Putnam's work; small business owners do not go "bowling alone." The best are civic-minded and community centered.
So we have selected a cross-section of small business owners who personify Social Capital.
And, in so many ways, all real small business owners have social capital. Typical is the Murstein family (Andy pictured on the right). Their purpose is to empower people with both fiscal capital and social capital and they do it in many communities throughout the USA.
We invite your questions or comments. - BEC
1. Michael Novak, twice the U.S. Ambassador to the UN Human Rights Commission, affirms that fundamentally business is not about greed. The best of small business is about the creation of social capital; and the best small business owners imbibe social capital.
2. Robert Putnam, author of Bowling Alone and The Prosperous Community is a Harvard University scholar. He has on-going work about social capital that is encompassed within his public outreach, The Saguaro Seminar.
3. Chuck McConnell, a certified PBS-mensch, has been a critical thinker and leader within the PBS-family almost since its inception. He works through the national association for all public television stations, NETA.