Volunteering as a factor formation of social capital
Volunteering in our time, as a key factor in creating social capital, is the key to the alternative development of the social economy and employment, creating added value in the economy.
The term social capital is increasingly used as a concept related to the community, but it is not limited to it, since it includes both formal and informal networks and common values. The definition of social capital that includes all the values and networks that facilitate group action is based on this relationship with civil society.
Social capital is therefore a matter of socializing knowledge, trust and cooperation at the local level and capacity for innovative investment policies that move society forward.
From the patriotic charitable and local volunteering with the non-monetary exchanges that prevailed in the older generations we have passed to a multidimensional-universal, humanitarian and ecological volunteering with autonomy of action from the market and state that nevertheless operates complementarily and fills the gaps of the economy
Volunteering today is not just a feeling of solidarity, but a logical process with reciprocity within the social economy.
It is no longer recognized only as an act of charity and solidarity in emergencies, as was especially the case in societies of the past, but also as an institutional activity that produces and disseminates lasting goods in culture, the environment and social welfare, as a place that develops human resources and synthesizes and enriches social capital.
What are the intrinsic constraints that prevent the state and the market from exploiting the full potential of society?
The answer is that there are restrictions on the market and wage labor as companies do not invest where significant profits are not visible. The state on the other hand with the civil service nature of work is unable to expand into entrepreneurship and create further employment.
The third sector of the economy by integrating volunteering as a value can mobilize entrepreneurship without the need for profitability.
These conditions of volunteering and service delivery did not exist in the past in pre-industrial and industrial societies, at least to this extent, beyond the church, and charity, where the business of social economy could not thrive.
Objectively, there could not be a voluntary part of the rural economy and a voluntary part of industry, while today we can talk about volunteering for example in green entrepreneurship, since it has been proven that civil society organizations are the forerunner of this form of entrepreneurship.
Is the differentiation of the phenomenon in relation to the past worth noting as a theoretical basis? for the design of development initiatives in the context of the social economy, in an area recognized by the EU. and from all the states that have set up separate institutions to promote this purpose.
Thus, in the context of the social economy, volunteering creates a favorable environment that becomes a driving force of the social economy in the context of non-profit companies and corporate social responsibility.
Reducing transaction costs
“Spontaneous sociability” significantly reduces transaction costs, speeding up transactions.
Organized sociability with a vision, and development goals in an area offers a comparative advantage in investment.
Instead, the lack of required social capital must be made up for in other ways, usually through time-consuming negotiations and a number of complex regulations and legal arrangements, which are essentially a form of taxation.
In other words, social capital reduces the cost of adjusting the investment and reduces the cost of exchanges. In this sense, the existence of structured social capital facilitates the inflow of financial capital and the viability of the investment thereafter.
In networks with a high level of social capital, the principle of reciprocity that contributes to individual well-being prevails, as participants have easier access to information or other resources, which increase the opportunities for individual integration.
In this sense, there are three parameters of social capital: the trust that is built through social networks and ensures that the obligations and duties of members are carried out smoothly, the information that is channeled through social networks and the regulations and sanctions that imposed on members of networks, and the cooperation ensured by human communities.
Ecological organizations are the forerunner of green entrepreneurship
Governments and parties are slow to discover the dynamism of the non-profit social economy, which is developing through institutions of solidarity, green and cultural entrepreneurship. For some, “new demons” are introduced in the context of the dominant market. Free information and some free services are offered, which “drive” the intellectual property system crazy.
The internet is evolving into a free open university for those who want to use it regularly. For the first time there is thus the prospect of free education and training. Huge libraries and copyrighted books are available for free, see wikipedia. The same internet technology offers free software.
With this practice the scientific knowledge of ecology and green entrepreneurship can not be a trade secret of the few.
It can be a supply point for many to produce and market eco-friendly products and services, and create new jobs.
Thus, we find that a new emerging market with increasing demand for green products, green professions and services, has recently been felt in our country.
And this is the most comforting and at the same time hopeful message beyond the “fashionable” environmental sensitivity that our TV channels launch many times without seeing results.
We need another green economy, green investment and green entrepreneurship to tackle the root cause of environmental catastrophe at its root, the cause of society’s diversion, which is the same as that of global poverty.
The side effects on the economy begin with the accumulation of energy, wealth and high know-how by economic oligarchies, who are indifferent to the environment and make societies powerless, and this is the fundamental cause of the diversion of things.
In contrast to the uncontrollable mechanisms of the global market, civil society organizations promoting a different consumer model and a new know-how aimed at the many and down in society is a precursor to green entrepreneurship, environmentally friendly professions and ultimately employment for many socially excluded groups, with recycling, soft energy, green cities, organic products.
Through this development tour and route we again come to the need for governments and local governments to invest in the so-called social capital.
The social and green economy in the market and labor market.
The antidote to the monopoly of “truth” and the concentration of power in the field of ecology are the joint ventures of NGOs. at every level, regional and local, such as consortium are many portals and wikipedia on the internet. Assembling a new digital content with creative actions for the environment.
The consortium of small and medium-sized NGOs for the environment
The thousands of small and medium-sized NGOs environment can form thematic consortia with communication and financial content that will allow them to introduce organizational and business innovations where the traditional market fails to be perceived as priorities.
For example, green roofs in big cities are an important idea for green entrepreneurship that is in its infancy by NGO initiatives. in Attica.
Equally important are recycling initiatives. There is also a lot of mobilization for organic products. Rural ecotourism based on agritourism is another example.
In any case, ecological organizations are emerging as a precursor to green entrepreneurship.
Because social networks are the ones that create social capital and reduce the cost of bureaucracy and change.
The Social Networks
Related to the term social capital is the concept of social networks. Social networks can be defined as the “multidimensional systems of communication and shaping of human practice and social identity. Social networks are also defined as the sum of personal contacts through which the individual maintains his social identity, receives emotional support, material support and participation in services, accesses information and creates new social contacts, and develops.
Empirical research confirms that the larger a network and the more frequent the contact of its members, the more effective the help they offer, for example, in providing business opportunities and employment to their members when they need it.
On the other hand, social networks convey important information to both employees and companies, increasing productivity.
Thus we conclude that a significant influence on finding work in an area plays social capital as long as it interacts with social networks. Research has also shown that simple membership in clubs and associations significantly increases the number of social networking links and therefore employment opportunities.
In all of the above research, their contribution is considered crucial, especially as a source of information, as young people have not developed a clear strategy for their vocational rehabilitation.
The strengthening of social capital is directly related to participation in the commons, and social networks are the new forms of organization that ensure the effective participation of citizens in the commons as well as in the productive and economic functions of society.
A relevant proposal is mentioned below that has been submitted for the “Kallikratis” program.
At the Ministry of Labor, which manages most of the ESF to boost employment, and especially for disadvantaged groups, nothing has started yet, 3 years after the start of the program, and no consultation has been held with IS organizations.
On the other hand, in the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change, which manages the resources of the NSRF for environmental awareness, although in the issues of environmental protection administration it makes cuts in relation to IS, it expresses a perception of activism that is far from a political strategy needed for activation. all social capital for green development.
The Ministry is going to become an activist, to imitate the campaigns by organizing groups of activists. However, this is not the job of the Ministry to become an activist, but to institutionally organize the country and formulate an operational action plan for the Municipalities and NGOs, volunteers and activists, supporting in practice administrative reform within the framework of “Kallikratis”
Social networking networks have the following properties:
They reduce transaction costs.
They operate as reservoirs of social capital.
They function as a precursor to social and green entrepreneurship.
Horizontal networks work in favor of the socialization of knowledge and know-how.
They contribute to the democratization of information and energy.
They direct investments to the region and socially necessary purposes.
They form Social Capital at local and national level.
When we talk about social networks it is true everyone’s mind goes to facebook and the internet. And this is happening as the penetration of the internet becomes more and more, the internet social networks become in turn, more and more popular as they are a very wide communication platform that exploits applications such as email, instant messaging, video messaging etc. Recently, Facebook, MySpace, twitter, etc. are growing rapidly and not only by people looking to socialize but by everyone, constantly raising the average age of users. But socialization at the local level comes in combination with more traditional means such as neighborhood shops or company hangouts. However, the social and communication networks pre-existed the technological networks, even if historically we did not call them that and in any case, they functioned unifyingly and in coordination for common claims and vision.
Social networking in the form we perceive it today is an online – online chat, which nurtures the relationship, engagement and networking between people. Social networks connect groups of people not only socially but also geographically. Thanks to them, it is easy to share your ideas, likes and dislikes with the world in general or with a familiar group of people. He can make friends or develop business contacts and become a member of a community. Therefore, social networks give people something that traditional media could never give, the opportunity to build relationships and network with others. Today, social networks have become extremely important for communication and can in no way be ignored, as they are an important part of the daily life of almost all organizations. Large and small organizations experiment daily with social networks with the aim of obtaining or disseminating information, attracting members, etc. Social networks can play an important role in the work of an organization and have proven to be an important work tool.
But we must not forget that networks in general are not something new. Even the family is nothing but a network with more or less strong ties that keeps its members united in a common purpose and a common ideology. There have always been networks of power, whether networks of claiming power, national networks, tribal networks, commercial or even liberation or religious networks. For example: Christianity from the first years of its emergence until today was and remains a globalized network. The Friendly Company was a liberating network, while the large multinational corporations are commercial networks with interests and operations around the world. At the same time, there were and still are class networks or political networks such as the Labor International, the Socialist International, etc. In any case, these networks or “unions” functioned unifying and coordinating for common demands, while political networks can sometimes express a vision or a political project. Here, however, we are not concerned with these traditional networks, which had another form of organization: hierarchical, authoritarian and assertive, either for state power or against the state. In other words, we are not looking at the networks that directly hold and claim power and form class or national interests, but the networks of social sensitivity motivated by volunteering, the environment and social solidarity, the spread of which is a phenomenon quite recent in history. A phenomenon co-formed by the release of human energy brought about by new interactive communication technologies, such as the internet and renewable energy sources. We therefore approach Networks and horizontal cooperation from the point of view of volunteering and the composition of social capital.
The crisis of confidence as a consequence of the global economic crisis, today highlights in a dynamic way the importance of social networks in addressing this social imbalance, especially through the social economy, which creates new employment opportunities. Thus, social networks have a number of positive effects as they contribute to the social solidarity economy and welfare. The main result is the reduction of transaction costs, whether we are talking about consumer networks or communication networks or even networks of diffusion of know-how, as they play a decisive role in the development of social economy between state and market, combining volunteering with non-profit business.
The fact that many large CSOs prefer individual action and are really effective in what they do does not in any way negate the multiplier potential and results of a joint action plan, especially the thousands of small collective organizations operating in all over the country. Like the need for networking between individuals, the need for networking and consortia between voluntary organizations is dictated by a number of subjective reasons for the effectiveness of individual initiatives and action plans but also by the very viability of the organizations. Without networking it would be difficult, if not impossible, not only to achieve their goals but also to survive many small organizations as today many of the voluntary actions require the contribution of human capital and financial resources in order to thrive, especially when the goals have an international character and importance, such as the protection of the environment, the support and social integration of migrants, etc., but it would at least be naive to overlook the sad fact that there are also trade unions or for-profit networks that often operate as a Trojan horse. corruption in civil society.
Therefore, the concept of social networks is completely related to the concept of self-organization of Civil Society Organizations. In this view, social networks can be defined as the “multidimensional systems of communication and shaping of human practice and social identity. Social networks are also defined as the sum of personal contacts through which the individual maintains his social identity, receives emotional support, material The individual contributes time and services through social media and reciprocates that he / she also belongs to a protection network that can be just as useful when he / she needs it. , as is the case with voluntary blood donors. However, when it comes to ecological action, the person who has a high awareness and contributes to the environment or social solidarity also contributes to the creation of social capital and contributes, many times without even knowing it, so that investments related to both ecoprotection and and the green economy and entrepreneurship – activities that broadly shape a more sustainable environment.
Empirical research confirms that the larger a social network and the more frequent the contact of its members, the more effective is the help it offers to its members in most aspects of their personal and social life, from finding work to exchanging objects or information, even finding a mate! On the other hand, social networks convey important information to companies, all kinds of organizations and masses, employees and of course the public itself, thus increasing productivity, communication, the degree of information and awareness but also the interaction in personal and social level.
When in an area, social networks are alive and functioning smoothly, it is natural and expected to allow and facilitate the interaction between society and social capital, resulting in its enrichment and multiplication, since the strengthening of social capital is directly related to participation in the public, and social networks, which ensure effective participation of citizens in the public but also in the productive and economic functions of society. After all, as we have elaborated in the relevant section, the regulations and the value character of social capital on the one hand and its relationship with social networks on the other are among the key factors that ensure the viability of investment plans for the economy and structures. self-organization for society. It is well known that, in terms of employment, which is the big issue of the times, the simple participation of an individual in clubs, associations, etc. significantly increases the number of links in his social network, thus significantly increasing the chances of employment.
It should come as no surprise that the contribution of social networks is crucial in almost every area of life, as modern research shows. It is enough to consider that today we call a social network what used to be called simply “acquaintances”. So if the term “social network” sounds foreign or exotic to some of the older ones, let them consider that the best job, the best career, the best pay, the best marriage, the best social development were always enjoyed by those who had the best “acquaintances” ». The difference lies in the fact that while once “acquaintances” was a closed privilege of a specific social and economic caste, today participation in social networks is open to all and depends more on the personal capabilities of each one than on the inheritance right.