Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Social Capital: My affinity for Argentina and dislike for Chile explained

A recent study placed Chile 3rd out of all Latin American countries (behind Costa Rica and Uruguay) for quality of life. However, it placed DEAD LAST in one very notable category: Social Capital. According to the study:

“Less than a quarter of Chileans trust other people and most believe that their friends aren’t that important, positioning Chile in the last place (in Latin America),” said William Inboden, Vice President for the Prosperidad del Instituto Legatum (IL). “This shows extremely low levels of social fabric within the nuclear family and amongst close friends.”

Hello! If they don't even like and trust each other, how did I ever expect them to like and trust me? The article goes on to say:

“It is common for countries on the road to development, and with high levels of governance, to have low levels of social capital.” said the IL report. “Once good governance has been achieved, it is perceived that it is not necessary to rely on others and on social networks. This doesn’t occur in communities with lower levels of governance, where the community is vital to survive. Nor does this occur in developed countries where the social capital is the base of prosperity.”

Gonzalo Tapia, a sociologist of University of Diego Portales, said the finding helps explain the character of many Chileans, who often shut themselves away with their families and distrust those around them.

The whole thing was quite fascinating and I can honestly say it gave me a sense of relief and justificiation at finally having a tangible explanation for the mysterious shut-out I experienced during my five months in Chile, which, as you may recall, caused me no shortage of loneliness and depression, two sensations to which I do not easily succumb.

Argentina may have regressed from first to third world status (for so many possible combinations of reasons it's not even worth getting into here), but at least people here like each other.


Robyn said...

i agree, i'll take the latter any day.

WTU said...

Hey you! I read the last 3 posts you wrote...
There're so many thing Argentina loves about you so, stay here and find them out! (No no, I didn't mean you love about ARgentina, but all the other way around ;-)

Yeah, @ home, if you don't like people from Chile, you're welcome... At the end, I'm Argentinean and we have huge problems with them :-P

And because I grew up with Chilenean mentality is why I'll never get married :-P I don't like asking for permission to nobody hahaha