Abstracts: September 4th, 2006

This publication from the Institute for Public Policy Research describes the importance of social capital alongside human, financial and physical capital in explaining the economic and social progress of societies. The wealth, health and happiness of society are made up of more than goods and services bought and sold and they are linked to something more intangible such as the acquaintances that help people get jobs, and the trust that encourages people to collaborate. The twentieth century saw a decline in some of the traditional solidarities of class, religion and geography that nurtured social capital in the past. Greater freedom came at the price of a more atomised and less trusting society.In 2002 and 2005, The London Borough of Camden commissioned two surveys aimed at measuring social capital, as it is broadly understood. This publication is intended to help explore the significance of the survey findings and develop policies in response to them.

The publication analyses the results and policy implications of the social capital surveys. The former and current leaders of Camden Council set out why they believe the social capital debate is so relevant to the borough and why they decided to commission the survey in the first place. Finally, from a national perspective, there is a reflection on where the social capital debate currently stands, questioning some of its key assumptions but setting out why it is so important to questions of diversity and social cohesion.

The publication is available at: