Inequality, Trust and Social Capital in the Southern of Italy
How can it be explained that certain societies have a higher or lower endowment of social capital than others? Some data will be provided here which suggest that the endowment of social capital can be traced to a certain configuration of social relationships. It is possible to identify in social relationships the reasons that motivate the social actors to not be involved in producing social capital. The aim is to explore the relationship between social capital and inequality, verifying whether the available data corroborate the argument that the shortage of social capital in the south of Italy can be attributed to a greater incidence of inequality and identifying which social mechanisms could explain the relationship. If inequality affects social capital in a negative way, this could be explained by the fact that it distances people from each other and increases separation and segmentation. The result is a weakening in general trust. It is this type of trust that motivates individuals to cooperate and participate in the production of collective benefits. Inequality in southern society has been, and still is, much more pronounced than in center-northern ones. This suggests that it continues to affect social structure and relationships, conditioning the individual’s disposition to trust and therefore participate and cooperate with others and generate social capital.
Keywords: inequality, trust, social capital, Mezzogiorno
Parole chiave: diseguaglianza, fiducia, capitale sociale, Mezzogiorno