Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Social Capital

At the moment I am supposed to be reading about whether or not social historians should include social capital in their eternal analyzing of history or if they should just simply wait for the fad to pass. I haven't gotten to the answer yet, and all I can think about is the new cash register at work.

Its very strange. I've dreamt about this cash register repeatedly. First, I dreamt that we were getting a new one, before I even knew that it was coming. Then, as I was gone for spring break, and they were installing the new cash register, I constantly had dreams that I messed up on it, that everything was amiss because the buttons were in the wrong place.

And they are. They are also ON THE SCREEN! You have to "sign in" to the cash register by a finger scan. Its crazy. I doubt many people want to steal Mia Za's money, but for some reason the register will not let me operate it unless I give it the finger. Because, of course, every time I used my pointer finger it replied with "access denied". Apparently, my pointer fingerprint is unreadable. Though, I'm secretly glad I get to flip it off every time I sign in to work.

But its bizarre. Social capital relates to the assets we have by joining social organizations, the types of advantages we get by being associated with different groups. Everyone was depressed today at work, when I tried to smile at them, the corners of their lips lifted in a droopy, halfhearted way. I was sad too. And it was sunny and warm out! It was beautiful, one of the most clear days we've had all winter.

I think our time is up. As a group, we've run out of energy. Our jokes are turning into complaints; our suggestions for each other are wearing at our shoulders and grinding against our skulls. Its too much. There have been too many changes and the benefits we used to enjoy are dwindling fast.


dissentingopinion said...

check out Nobel prize winner Amartya Sen

dissentingopinion said...

Your professor's aversion to Sen is rather ironic because Sen's whole deal is about steering development away from pure income and GDP stuff, into more "humanistic values" such as gender equality, literacy, and personal happiness. Using his HDI instead of GDP makes rich hater countries such as Saudi Arabia look like the oppressive regimes they are. Whereas "poor" countries such as Sri Lanka come off better because they have less inequality (in terms of income and gender rights) a high literacy rate, and a relatively healthy population.

in this NTY article they talk about social capital but call it human. On a related note for every time an area doubles in population density GDP grows 6%:

"New York still has an amazing concentration of talent. That talent is more effective because all those smart people are connected because of the city’s extreme population density levels. Historically, human capital — the education and skills of a work force — predicts which cities are able to reinvent themselves and which ones are not. Those people who are continuing to pay high prices for Manhattan real estate are implicitly betting that New York’s human capital will continue to come up with new ways of reinventing the city."

dandelionia said...

but I fear that this is further proof that Detroit should consolidate and I am irrationally against that idea

but I do like the idea of human capital