Jun 02 2009

Limited Time Offer!

by at 3:21 pm under Uncategorized

Patterns of socio-economic behavior repeat themselves, regardless of the “shocks” to networks that come through political upheaval or environmental hazards. These patterns become subsequently more and more difficult to break, whether they are positive or negative. Consequently, both formal and informal institutions with agendas for development need to be careful how they insert themselves into the fabric of the global environment now, especially because the effects may be – to borrow a phrase from Stride gum’s marketing slogan – “ridiculously long lasting.”

National, and especially global, institutions are in an especially vulnerable position as a relatively new creation in the history of time. The patterns that advisory boards instigate now may create path dependency in the future, based on Robert Putnam’s socio-economic analysis of the divide between North and South Italy. Lock-in and inflexibility can effect (and has effected) disastrous consequences on countries unprepared to protect social welfare.

Because of the potential lack of adaptability, institutions must foster trust, civic communities, and norms of reciprocity as Putnam suggests so that social capital can be maximized (170-171). Social capital is a foundation of an economic network because without institutions of mutual reciprocity, community activism is low. Deepa Narayan introduces the network effects of social capital, stating that tight-knit communities with high social capital can still flounder without “bridges” to other groups (1). Thus, strengthening the “cross-cutting ties” or civic engagement creates a link to maximize social inclusiveness.

The prescription for global and national institutions must follow the map of successful regional contracts: enhanced trust (based on high information connectivity supplemented by third-party enforcement), mutual cooperation and broad interconnectivity can open the global market to increased efficacy. If the developed world discloses its motivations and incentives for collaboration, then the developing world has a better chance to act effectively on those incentives, based on their own self-interest. Also, the enhanced structure of cross-cutting ties between regions and nations can bolster economic welfare for all.

"Is the glass..." by jespis
Is the glass by jespis

So the situation today may sound something like an infomercial catch phrase. Lines like “act now” and “this is a limited time offer” may be equally as important for establishing good practices in the development world. As the joke goes, “Some say the glass is half empty. Others say the glass is half full. I say, ‘Are you going to drink that?’” Action without research is blind guessing; therefore, international institutions must carefully enter this window of opportunity soon to reroute regional and national standstills towards positive outcomes built on social capital.

No responses yet | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , ,

Comments RSS

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.