The concept of social capital has become very influential in social science and is also increasingly deployed in analysis of transition economies. Its appeal derives from the attempt to relate the functioning of the capitalist economy to the non-economic relations of capitalist society. This article finds that the concept of social capital is inadequate for this purpose. By tracing the intellectual history of social capital, it is shown that the concept contains confusion with regard to both capital as economic phenomenon and capitalist social relations. Social capital conflates economy and society and hinders, rather than facilitates, analysis of capitalist society.
Keywords: social capital, social networks, post-Washington Consensus, World
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