The Moral Capital: Much Needed Resource

Wednesday, 18 July 2018: 16:15
Location: John Bassett Theatre (102) (MTCC NORTH BUILDING)
Oral Presentation
Piotr SZTOMPKA, Jagiellonian University, Poland
Society is nothing else but what happens between and among individuals in the interhuman space. One of the crucial missing resources of societies pervaded with abuses of power, violence and poverty is social capital, the network of good relations among the citizens. The core of social capital is moral capital which consists of six fundamental relations: trust, loyalty, reciprocity, solidarity, respect and justice. Trust is the bet on good intentions and actions of others, loyalty is the obligation not to harm those who trust you, reciprocity requires returning received favors, solidarity asks for disinterested contributions to the welfare of the whole community, respect recognizes dignity of others, and justice demands distribution of rewards proportional to the merits and achievements. Those relations constitute a syndrome; they are logically and empirically interconnected and none can be realized alone. Together they create important prerequisites for the functional efficiency of the social wholes of all sizes, from the family to the nation, and in perspective even the global community. And at the same time they make life of societal members more satisfying, fulfilling and happy. Alas the realities of many societies are witnessing the opposite syndrome. The levels of distrust, both horizontal toward other people and vertical toward the institutions are alarmingly high. The citizens' loyalty toward the state is very low. In place of reciprocity there is widespread exploitation. The idea of a common good is treated as an abstraction replaced by rampant egoism. Abuse, hostility and violence replace respect. Injustice of all sorts prevails. It is a big mistake to treat these as intangibles and imponderables, as "soft" irrelevant factors, putting all emphasis on "hard" material and financial meaning of capital. Without moral capital social development is not to be achieved.