Social capital is more important than physical or monetary capital.
It might be for people who can afford to feed and clothe themselves. Social capital doesn’t buy food, not when all your friends are just as poor as you are.
As for social capital in our modern society:
One, I disagree with your assessment that our social safety net eliminates the need for social capital. A more comprehensive social safety net might do so, but I could link you to a half dozen different GoFundMe pages of people I personally know who are asking donations to cover medical costs.
Two, I don’t agree that reliance on social capital over a social safety net is the optimal way to do things. Not everyone is equally skilled at socializing. Relying on social capital just sets up another subset of inequality — among the poor people, it’s those who are better at socializing who are going to have more of their needs met via social capital.
Three, I would argue it’s the wealthy in our society who have no more use of social capital, not the poor. The wealthy live in a different world. They rarely come into contact with the lower classes, and when they do, it’s never socially. It’s almost always with the member of the lower class acting in a subservient role.
What does a wealthy person need social capital for if they can just hire someone to take care of them when they’re sick?
True, you might not always be wealthy, but very few wealthy people take that fact into consideration when deciding how to treat those beneath them.
Not at all. He is free to go to another employer, change career fields or even start his own business and compete with me as he chooses.
I specified in my analogy that the employment opportunities are inherently limited. All the other employers are paying as little as you are, so why bother? And he can’t start his own business to compete with yours, because starting a new business requires capital, and he has none.
I hear this all the time from libertarians: that if you’re stuck in a low-paying job, then you should seek out a better paying job, even if it requires significant personal investment for you to do so.
And that’s fine in theory. On an individual level, that argument works fine. Extend it to the collective and you run into problems.
One, there are not enough better paying jobs out there for everyone. 29% of America’s households have an income of less than $35,000 annually. That’s about 90 million Americans. Are there 90 million better paying jobs out there, just waiting for people to come and claim them?
And even if there were, and those 90 million people all quit their low wage jobs and set out to better themselves, what would happen? The economy would collapse, because no one is left to do the jobs they left behind.
It’s fine for people to argue that you’re not supposed to be able to support yourself on a minimum wage job, that these jobs are supposed to be reserved for people teenagers who are still living at home with their parents. It doesn’t change the fact that there are elderly people working as greeters at Wal-Mart.
The collective good recognized in one neighborhood might be seen as a collective evil in the next.
Yes, I imagine the wealthy neighborhood would have plenty of objections to paying higher taxes to support the poorer neighborhoods. That doesn’t mean they deserve to go untaxed.
Murder would be prohibited because it violates the the core libertarian concept of individual rights. People wouldn’t have the individual freedom to commit murder because murder infringes upon the victim’s right to life.
Does a person not have the individual right to a fair wage?