Critical Analysis Of Social Capital Killing Communities By Ryan Macneil

1002 Words 5 Pages
The essay “Social Capital Killing Communities” was written by Ryan MacNeil to fulfill the requirements of a “Theory of Local Economic Development” class in December of 2004. MacNeil’s essay attempts to rationalize an argument that social capital is both not damaging non-urban communities and may in fact be an advantage for economic growth in rural areas if researchers would only look beyond simple GDP growth to measure prosperity. MacNeil’s entire hypothesis is based on GDP being an inaccurate measurement for economic improvement. If the reader can grasp, even embrace, the idea that perhaps a measure such as GPI (Genuine Progress Index) is a fair measure, then the essay moves from overtly theoretical to perhaps a hypothesis that can be tested …show more content…
It has become easy and almost expected for young people to leave rural communities. Recent research by a doctoral student at the Canadian Resilience Research Centre illustrates that rural youth are caught in a complicated world with many of the young people who feel forced to leave would choose a rural lifestyle over an urban one. This sense of family and wanting to be close to your roots is a benefit of rural communities. A second benefit of rural areas is the link to church. Taylor and Chatters found that “younger respondents were likely to receive support” from their church if they attended their family church. These two benefits, a sense of family and church membership, are two benefits of social capital that would correlate to GPI, but not be measured at all for GDP.
Throughout “Social Capital Killing Communities,” MacNeil seems to argue that social capital is aiding and improving rural communities. He argues in favor of using measures beyond simple GDP for evidence. MacNeil’s hypothesis is that GDP is an imperfect measurement for economic improvement in communities. Instead measures such a GPI, demonstrate that rural communities compete well for satisfaction of individuals living in those areas as there is more to life than a bigger

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