Friday, June 12, 2009

The deteriorating social capital

The famous production function in economics is often applied to economic growth of countries, and assumes that increasing physical capital, and productivity of human capital lead to higher growth. According to the Solow growth model, countries can achieve higher economic growth through accumulating physical capital (increasing the capital stock), and improving the quality of human capital through education and better health services.
Maldives also has achieved economic growth in the past few decades through increased investments in tourism and few other industries (accumulation of capital), and increased proportion of population with secondary education. Compared to 20 years ago, even the health standards have improved, and the life expectancy is reported to have increased too.

The concept of social capital is also important to the development of a country. According to some of the newer versions of growth theories, the social capital tends to directly influence the total production of a country. For instance, other things remaining unchanged, a country with a rich culture that promotes better work ethics, taking responsibilities, honesty, and/or self-reliance will tend to have a higher probability of achieving higher economic growth, compared to a country with no such values, and where people tend to be generally laid-back.

As we go along the path of democratic, economic, and social reforms, it is vital that we focus policies and societal thinking towards development of our social capital. It is disheartening to hear almost every day, cases of pedophiles, murder, drug abuse, and many more. The most depressing aspect of all this, is the fact that proper punishments are not being given to these dangerous criminals. There is a greater role to be played by the government, the court system, civil society, and the people in general to address these issues. We need stronger measures to deal with such people, so that they are not released back to the society without being given harsh punishments.

The legal professionals and the parliamentarians have a greater role to play on this. I wish parliamentarians better utilize their time discussing regulations and ways to strengthen the legal system so that pedophiles could get harsh punishments. Instead we see them ‘wasting’ most of the sessions in a battle of two political parties. Some want to address the issue of reducing the presidential powers, others want to make Theemuge as the presidential palace, and others want to discuss what the attorney general has said the other day. There are more important and urgent issues to be addressed in this country. If we cannot stop or reduce these serious social problems today, we may not be able to save our country.


  1. we should even reduce the number of parliamentarians. say frm 77 to 50 back again

  2. can u leave the politicians alone!!

  3. Maintain and enhancing the Social capital is the goal of development but tell that to a planner in Maldives.

    Mind you, our planners are not usually economist - you are talking about engineers and architects who may not 'social capital' is such a concrete idea. Just looking at the design of Male, you know it is meant to be a ghetto. Social capital obviously have not been factored into their 'calculations'..

  4. When these kind of cases occur in most of other countries, there are series of protests, and pressure on the government and other institutions. but here, its there in the headlines for couple of days, and then we forget. Whatsmore, the pedophile or the kind of people like the mother of the 8 month old who died, will walk away freely within few days. pathetic.

  5. - where is social capital when young educated is only driven by thirst for money and power?
    - Where is social capital ..when young educated worships the flesh of a "sexy" beautiful girl who he eyes when he passes by..and says "subuhaanallah"?..where is the morality? SEX is always on his mind!
    - Where is Social Capital when young educated has no respect for old and poor?
    -Where is social capital when young educated people is puffing if he is addicted?
    -Where is social capital when young educated is watching pornography? (opps bikinis is these days not porno..)
    -Where is social Capital when young educated can blindly and openly ignore the promises or agreements made?
    ,....many more..i capital is not the issue at hand..think about it!