Published:  12:00 AM, 13 June 2019

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Social Capital - Thoughts from traffic in Dhaka

Many students of political science, sociology and development economics are familiar with theories on social capital. In short the argument goes something like this: In a society which has a large degree of social capital people tend to help each other out more.

According to Harvard professor Robert Putnam, social capital can de defined as "the collective value of all social networks and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other". Further, Putnam argues that societies or nations with high degree of social capital are more prone to have democratic governance.

2008 will be an important year for Bangladesh. From January 2007 the country has been under the rule of a military backed care-taker government. Both former prime ministers have been put behind bars on corruption charges; together with many of the country's other former political leaders.

There is a ban on all political activities. In August last year students of universities throughout the country started violent protests against the military rule in place. They had the support of distinguished professors who during the protest were jailed together with students on charges of violating the emergency power rules.

Yesterday the professors were pardoned by the chief adviser and they could leave prison. Still, many students are awaiting their sentences and silent protests have been carried out at Dhaka university campus.  (excerpt)

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