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Podcast: The Importance of Social Capital with JEC Chairman Mike Lee

At the Joint Economic Committee, we believe knowledge of social capital is vital to achieving our goal of expanding economic opportunity for all Americans. Join us as we invite hearing witnesses to engage in a deeper social capital conversation on The Social Capitalists Podcast: Post-hearing Discussions with the Joint Economic Committee Republicans.

Listen to Episode 1, subscribe, or read the transcript below:

 

Chairman Mike Lee: Hi, I’m Senator Mike Lee, Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee. You’re listening to the Social Capitalists Podcast.

At the JEC, we believe knowledge of social capital is essential to our understanding of our country’s economic health and that it’s vital to achieving our goal of expanding economic opportunity for all Americans. But what is exactly is social capital? Well, the short answer is, it’s the value of the things we do together. The value of our relationships with our families, our friends and neighbors, congregations, and coworkers.

Social capital is, of course, harder to measure than traditional economic indicators like GDP, but it’s arguably even more necessary to the success of our uniquely American way of life. Americans simply cannot flourish in a free market economy and voluntary civil society without the relationships that connect us to those very networks of opportunity.

Social capital is what empowers our communities to overcome challenges in our own lives and in the lives of the communities that surround us. It’s what brings neighborhoods together in Nebraska after mass flooding and rallies communities in Utah after devastating fires. It’s found in families and in churches, in schools and in workplaces, in Little League teams and in Rotary Clubs.

But over the last few decades, once strong American communities have been weakened by alienation and isolation. The distribution of social capital across the country is more unequal than it used to be and it’s this very unevenness in social support and interpersonal connectedness that is a primary reason Americans endure unequal opportunities. 

For two years the JEC’s social capital project has dug into the issues to better understand the state of social capital in the United States today. Over the next two years the project will begin to offer policy solutions on how best to strengthen families, invest in children, connect people to work and increase social integration. 

If you’re interested in the project please follow our research and policy proposals on Facebook, Twitter, or by signing up for the JEC newsletter. Additionally, you can subscribe to this podcast, The Social Capitalists: Post-Hearing Discussions with the Joint Economic Committee Republicans. After our hearings we invite our staff and witnesses to engage in a deeper social capital conversation.

We hope you’ll join us because it is only by working together that we expand opportunity for all Americans. Thanks for listening.

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