The downside of social capital
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The paper highlights that due to the recent enchantment with the concept of social capital - it has been seen as a panacea for many social and economic issues - the negative consequences are being ignored. The common mistake is to see collective social capital as the sum of individual social capital. The other mistake is to inaccurately see the sources of social capital for the benefits derived from them. This ignores those social networks that simply lack the economic means to meet the required resources. As negative consequence, social capital can enable conspiracies against the public. The strong ties that help group members can often lead to the exclusion of outsiders. Another negative consequences being ignored are the pressures for conformity that groups can place on individual freedoms and business initiative. Social capital has been blamed for inner city socioeconomic problems, but inner city communities are not short of networks. Youth inner city gangs are an example of what the authors call downward leveling pressures. The authors highlight the need to acknowledge the negative aspects of social capital in order to create effective policy recommendations. Ignoring the downside to social capital can result in ineffective policy recommendations.