RSA in February 2010 drawing from his recent book "The Hidden Wealth of Nations". We considered social capital / social trust - it's role in our world and ways we might enhance it.
It was interesting to note that
1. This is not an easy or familiar topic for discussion
2. The debate became more animated and drew more consensus when discussing specific actions than theories.
3. Statements in italics are extracted from David's book and were used to stimulate the debate - they still received (or not) support levels)
The debate covered 3 main questions and these are the more supported statements that were made (in order, strongest first under each question):
1. Our own levels of social trust
I haven’t encountered the concept of “social trust” before – can we have a definition please?
The economic value of all the time we spend supporting our friends and family is worth more than GDP
I think social trust is one of the things that helps build social capital
2. The benefits of social trust
Feeling good IS a benefit
Being 'looked after' when things happen - losing a key, having a flat tyre, people giving back loans
3. Increasing social trust
I give a certain number of hours of citizen service...
I think that internet discussion groups, perhaps composed of people living in local communities, can help build community, and building community means increasing trust.
Reciprocity in social care...
The state delivering plants and tools to groups of citizens to maintain their public spaces
Local referenda triggered by deliberative forums of small random samples of citizens
For a sense of what else came up see our wordcloud