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Friday, August 19, 2016

Password Wisdom

What matters with passwords is length.

The longer it is the more impossible it will be for a computer to guess it.

Special characters and numbers are not nearly as important as length.

And don't worry about using dictionary words. As long as they are in combination with other words, it makes no difference. Even if a computer tried guessing your password using all dictionary words, it would never guess something like "feelgoodflowerpower" because it would not know where one word ended and another began.

The above password has 19 characters, each of which could be any of ~50 unique symbols. That means the possible permutations are 19 to the power of 50--something close to the number of known particles in the universe. Impossible for any super computer to guess.

Shorter combinations of letters and numbers like "London2012" are easier for a computer to guess, but more difficult for you to remember!

The best passwords are phrases that you find easy to remember. Something like "iwasbornsomewhereinlondon". This is so easy to remember, quick to type out, and is also tremendously secure.

Forget using combinations of letters numbers and special characters that are hard to remember and difficult to type. Phrases are the way to go.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Ancient Sunlight

I recently heard a sustainability professional refer to oil as "ancient sunlight." It struck a note with me. It was a sharp, poignant, paradigm-shifting statement.

It really is true. Through photosynthesis, the earth has been collecting energy from the sun for billions of years and slowly storing that energy in the form of fossil fuels. Like a battery.

Since the industrial revolution, when we learned to tap into those ancient energy reserves, our growth has been exponential... and artificial. We are using past savings to fund present spending. We are living off the earth's capital, rather than its interest.

It is unnecessary. The sun provides more than enough constant energy input for the earth to sustain itself, and I believe it can (and will someday) sustain all human activities as well.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Time To Get A Password Manager

It astonishes me how many people still use "123456" or "password" as passwords for important accounts. The annually published list of most popular passwords is disheartening. I really have no sympathy for people when their email address gets compromised and they send viruses to their friends--followed by an apology a day later. But the reason is obvious: we all have so many accounts, with so many services, how are we ever supposed to remember all the username/password combinations?

Most people have a handful of easy passwords they use for all their accounts. They don't always remember which password goes to which account, but after trying a few times, they usually get in. Other people use all the available hard disk space in their brains remembering dozens of passwords, attempting to keep them all unique. These people make frequent use of password recovery services. Other people write all their passwords down on paper, or in a file. But unless you are willing to take the security risk and carry this around with you, it is of little use.

Password managers like LastPass are the best solution I know of. It's called LastPass because your master password is the last password you will ever need to remember. I've been using it for years. I don't know, or need to know any of the passwords for my many accounts. They are all unique, long, random strings of characters. LastPass remembers them for me, and fills them in for me automatically. It's really genius.

LastPass runs as a browser plugin, or as a background service on your mobile device. You log in once (per session) using your master password, and then every website or app you visit which asks for credentials, LastPass automatically fills them in for you. Not only does this save tremendous amounts of time, but it saves precious swathes of brain space.

It is also far more secure than any other method of storing passwords. Your password database is encrypted with 256-bit, government level encryption, and all decryption only happens locally so that your unencrypted passwords are never, ever sent over the internet, even on "secure" connections. It is so secure, in fact, that if you forget your master password, not even the people at LastPass can recover your database for you. I store not only internet account passwords, but it's where I keep ALL my sensitive information like account numbers, social security numbers, etc.

Lot's of people I've spoken with are skeptical about using these types of services, but I don't understand why. It is so much more secure than relying on your own memory, or writing passwords down on paper. Making all your passwords unique and strong means that if someone hacks into one of your accounts, your others are still safe. And you never have to worry about being without LastPass because you can access your database from any internet-connected device if you need to.

I've been promoting this for a while now. If you are one of those people that uses the same password over and over, or that spends way too much brainpower remembering unique ones, take this opportunity to finally get your sh** together. Get organized. Get secure. It will save you time, brainpower, and protect you from potential disaster.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

A Brief Critique of Consequentialism and Ethical Relativism

It feels unpopular in today’s post-modern culture to subscribe to deontological ethics. It was made clear during a recent course I took, for example, that the majority of young thinkers tend towards consequentialism and ethical relativism. It is even less popular, within deontological ethics, to subscribe to divine command theory. This view is often seen as old-fashioned and traditionalist—or worse, judgmental and bigoted. Many believe that rather than being a valid and logical philosophy, it is only the dogmatic result of religious belief. This, however, is not necessarily true. I hope to demonstrate that in many regards it is superior in its explanatory power and usefulness than other views.

Consequentialist ethics look solely to the outcome of an action to determine if it was ethical or not, ignoring the intention of the actor. To the degree that an action produces a good condition, it can be said to have been ethical. One problem with this approach is that does not provide a way to define good and bad. What is good? For whom is it good? Without scrutinizing an act according to some law or convention, the good of an act becomes completely relative. The act’s rightness becomes a matter of opinion. Consequentialism fails to provide criteria for what is right and wrong, and this failure makes it largely useless for making objective moral judgments.

Consequentialism also creates possibilities where well-meaning actors perform unethical acts by accidents of chance—e.g. a man trying to prevent a traffic accident, but by doing so making it worse. Though his intentions were good, the act would be unethical.  Conversely, a criminal intent on evil might unintentionally produce good conditions, thus making the act good. Intuitively we know this does not make sense. The intentions of the actor must be taken into account. In our judicial systems we do distinguish between premeditated crimes and crimes of opportunity. Consequentialism tries to negate this human intuition under the misguided belief that rationalized arguments originating in the neocortex are the only source of valid moral judgements.

This can be connected to Haidt’s Social Intuitionalism (2001) which shows that when eliciting situations occur, an intuitive judgement about its moral content is made. Only then does higher reasoning follow and the subject either confirms his or her initial intuition, or rejects it. This was seen clearly in the recent SBE class where students initially indicated, almost unanimously, that necrophilia was morally wrong. After discussions, however, increasingly more students concluded that the lack of negative consequences meant there was in fact nothing particularly wrong with the action. By applying consequentialist reasoning, the initial intuitive judgement was rejected in favor of an “enlightened,” presumably more valid viewpoint. I would argue that the rejection of moral intuition is not a correct approach to ethics. Rather than leading to more valid conclusions, this approach is nothing more than the post-hoc justification of immoral actions.

But then where do moral intuitions come from, and why should they be considered more valid than consequentialist conclusions? One school of thought gives them an evolutionary origin. The drive to survive—and the need to work together to do so—has ingrained within us a set of instincts which help keep the fabric of society intact. Moral intuition is, in this view, merely a functional trait that contributes to survival. This however fails to account for phenomena such as counter-preferential choice. Why do we feel a “moral resonance” when we witness someone sacrifice his or her life for another—or for a higher cause? Another view is that moral intuitions are sociocultural constructs that we unconsciously learn as we grow, much like language, and become second-nature to us. This idea is elaborated by Mikhail (2007) and could account for counter-preferential choice—if for example, selflessness and sacrifice were highly valued in the social context of one’s upbringing.  But this fails to explain why a society or culture would adopt such non-essential, non-survivalist values in the first place.

A third view, the one that I subscribe to, is that moral intuition is merely another word for an almost forgotten term—conscience. The conscience is a moral compass, existing within every human being, informing him or her constantly of the difference between right and wrong. This very idea necessitatesthe existence of moral “laws” that transcend social consensus or instinct. Just as a real compass always points to the magnetic north—a physical location that remains unchanged regardless of viewpoint, culture, time or place—the moral compass points to real, absolute and unchanging moral laws that are not relative or subject to differences in opinion—for they are in fact divinely decreed. This is not to say that absolute moral laws can always be absolutely known or that any person or institution understands them perfectly—it is only to say that they exist. They must exist, for only then can any meaningful discussion about the “rightness” or the “wrongness” of an action (or its consequences) take place.

Arguing ethics in the absence of a belief in moral absolutes is like arguing about which way is “up” while floating through space. Right and wrong (including extremes such as pedophilia) become only conventions, and the basis for any convention can always be called into question or changed. True north, on the other hand, is immune to differences of opinion and requires no consensus for it is a physical reality that would continue to exist even if no humans ever lived. A man can be said to be going “west” or “east” and such a statement is actually meaningful. If no global frame of reference exists, talk of direction has no real meaning—and this is precisely the case when ethics are discussed irrespective of absolute moral laws. Thus, divine command theory is more useful than consequentialism because it provides a solid framework by which ethics can be discussed in a meaningful way, morality can move beyond mere consensus and the rightness or wrongness of actions can be objectively evaluated.

Haidt, J. (2001). The emotional dog and its rational tail: a social intuitionist approach to moral judgment. Psychological review, 108(4), 814.

Mikhail, J. (2007). Universal moral grammar: Theory, evidence and the future. Trends in cognitive sciences, 11(4), 143-152.               

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Sufficiency Solution?

There are many obstacles in the quest to achieve true sustainability in our industrialized society which has for centuries been accustomed to a take-make-waste model of consumption. Radical changes are needed in our economic paradigms in order to ensure that we, as a global society, can continue to increase global economic prosperity while at the same time conserve our ecosystems, and help to establish social justice and equity. The challenge of sustainability is to simultaneously create economic, social and environmental benefits, and has been famously defined as the ability to “meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs” (WCED, 1987).

Corporations are probably the largest, most powerful and influential player in terms of setting direction for society, and they must take the lead in adopting sustainable practices. In order to do this, many new ways of thinking will need to be employed and many new strategies and innovations will need to be developed. One of the biggest obstacles in this regard is that often managers fail to see either the necessity or the potential benefit—or simply see sustainability efforts as an impediment to growth. These assumptions remain despite much research that has shown strong business cases can be made for adopting sustainability as a corporate objective. Hart and Milstein (2003), for example, show how the multiple dimensions of sustainability can be connected to the multiple dimensions of shareholder value and thus demonstrate that sustainable strategies can be implemented that are not only good for society and the planet, but can represent increases in real shareholder value.

Generally, however, as the understanding of the necessity and opportunity associated with corporate sustainability permeates through the world of management, more and more businesses are taking their role as sustainability leaders seriously, and many are taking steps towards decreasing the negative impacts they have on the environment and society. While some more radical sustainability advocates insist (perhaps rightly) that these incremental changes are not enough, in reality economic systems cannot change overnight and it is important that corporations start somewhere. Many innovative business thinkers have developed strategies and programs that have at least set them on the path towards corporate sustainability, not only decreasing negative impacts but in some cases learning to exploit new markets and previously undiscovered opportunities.

One potential avenue for pursuing sustainability that is often overlooked by business—perhaps because it is not so clear how it can be turned into shareholder  value for a firm—is the idea of sufficiency, sometimes called eco-sufficiency. In plain language this term could be simply called frugality, modest living or sober living; it carries the implications of voluntarily choosing to live with fewer material possessions, consuming less, saving more, and thereby making less of an impact on the environment.  This lifestyle is becoming somewhat of a trend in some (primarily affluent) areas, and advocates often believe that living in such a way can increase personal happiness while helping to ensure the preservation of the earth for future generations. Other popular terms for this lifestyle choice include slow-living, simple living or minimalism. It is feasible that corporations can make use of this growing trend—even encourage it—to further their sustainability goals and even create new business opportunities.

Within corporate sustainability programs and initiatives there is much focus on the supply side of the firm, namely towards creating efficiency or decreasing the negative impact relative to the production of product or service provided. While this approach can help to save costs for the firm and reduce waste, it has also been shown that this approach can have a rebound effect (e.g. Dyllick & Hockerts, 2002). As production costs (and therefore prices) for products with negative impacts are reduced it can lead to an increase in overall production/consumption and therefore an increase in absolute negative impact. While each product may be less polluting (for example), the increase in total products sold due to lower costs has a net effect of increasing the total pollution. The problem here is that as production costs are reduced and prices go down, consumer demand tends to increase. While the company can boast a more efficient use of resources and a relative decrease in negative impact, the overall problem actually worsens.

Therefore, a logical alternative (or perhaps a supplement) to efficiency is to focus on the consumption side by reducing the demand for products or services that cause environmental or social harm.  In terms of the well-known equation I = PAT, while efficiency is geared towards reducing impact by lowering the technology factor, sufficiency takes another approach by effectively decreasing the affluence factor (Alcott, 2008). Corporations can only do so much in making their products sustainable when there remains a demand for unsustainable products. As long as a strong and stable demand for certain products exist, there will be companies striving to meet that demand by manufacturing the sought-after goods. And so it is important to realize that consumers have a role to play in corporate sustainability as well. By reducing demand for products which are unsustainable, consumers have the power to reduce negative impacts on the environment and on society. According to the Royal Society (2012), possibly the best way to decrease the negative human impact on the planet is to decrease the resource consumption of those sections of society which currently consume the most.

The idea of product stewardship postulates that corporations should take responsibility not only for the processes in their firms which are directly under their control, but all the effects of a product from resource extraction to disposal. One could argue that this then includes a responsibility to manage the demand side of business as well as the supply. By working to reduce the demand for unsustainable products, such products can be phased out and substituted for more sustainable ones. While some may argue that consumer demand is not within the scope of management’s control—after all, consumers want what they want and manufacturers respond to those wants—it is widely known that marketing plays a large role in directing consumer preference. If companies are willing to accept responsibility for the impacts of their products in the larger economic, social and ecological environment, ought they not also take responsibility by doing all they can in order to redirect consumer preference to products with a lower negative impact?

The difficulty is that many corporations have large investments and interests in consumer demand for unsustainable products. Many businesses thrive off continuing to sell products like SUV’s which are far less fuel-efficient than more compact cars. A shifting of consumer preference towards sufficiency would then been seen by such companies as a development detrimental to business. But companies producing SUV’s are not the only ones who might worry over such a trend.  A general decrease in consumer wants could mean less economic activity in general, and that is hard to stomach for an economy that is obsessed with constant growth. While environmental and social improvements might be realized from such a trend, is it possible for economic prosperity to continue to grow under such circumstances? Some research indicates that sufficiency-driven business models can indeed open the door for new and profitable opportunities.

Bocken & Short (2015) provide economic rationale for sufficiency by conceiving of it as “an effective core strategy for sustainable business model innovation, initiated and driven by companies themselves, rather than merely a reactive strategy to an external influencing factor on business.” They demonstrate through case studies that innovative business models can exist that work to curb consumption by moderating demand. If implemented carefully, things like avoiding built-in obsolescence, making products last longer, education and awareness, and conscious changes in marketing techniques in combination with new innovative revenue schemes can help promote sufficiency and ultimately lead to more sustainable business and value creation.

Other literature, however, shows some problems with the model of sufficiency. Alcott (2008) argues that just like resource-efficiency, sufficiency is subject to a negative rebound effect. He argues that as initial demand for products goes down, prices are reduced which, in turn, increases demand by others. It seems, therefore, that in order for sufficiency to be effective as a strategy for corporations to become more sustainable, a certain critical threshold would need to be reached so as to largely eliminate the rebound effect. If a large enough number of consumers in affluent nations would begin to show interest in such a lifestyle, business would adapt to cater towards these new trends; they would be forced to innovate to meet the changing patterns of demand.

In conclusion, while corporations remain the largest and most important leaders in setting the direction for society, controlling the means by which sustainability can be achieved, it is certainly important to consider the role of the consumer in the process. Corporations are responsive to their customers and as trends in consumption change corporations will strive to meet those changing needs. As it becomes clearer to the general public that sustainability is a matter of global and human concern, it may be that paradigm shifts which lead to attitudes of sufficiency continue to grow. The companies that manage to innovate now and find new ways of capturing value in such a new economic environment by capitalizing on sufficiency lifestyles will secure a competitive advantage in the future. In this way corporations and consumers together can contribute to a more sustainable world. 

Alcott, B. (2008). The sufficiency strategy: Would rich-world frugality lower environmental impact? Ecological Economics, 64, 770-786

Bocken, N., Short, S. (2015). Towards a sufficiency-driven business model: Experiences and opportunities. Environmental Innovation and Societal Transitions (2015).

Dyllick, T., Hockerts, K. (2002). Beyond the Business Case for Corporate Sustainability. Business Strategy and the Environment, 11, 130-141

Hart, S., Milstein, M.,  Caggiano, J. (2003). Creating Sustainable Value.  The Academy of Management Executive, 17(2), 56-69.

The Royal Society, (2012). People and the Planet, Available at: http://royalsociety.org/policy/projects/people-planet/report/ (accessed 16.09.15).

World Commission on Environment and Development. (1987). Our Common Future. Oxford: Oxford University Press, p. 8.

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Passion versus commitment

When it comes to marriage in the Western world we let our passion take the lead. We fall in love first, and afterwards, if it seems right, we commit to it by saying the vows. I'm not necessarily saying this is a bad model. I'm not even saying that it is the primary reason for the high divorce rates in the West... Arranged marriages are old fashioned and primitive, and despite the low divorce rates in places where they do arranged marriages, the couples don't actually love each other.

Well, I happen to know some arranged-married-couples who would argue otherwise.

But actually I'm not here to write about marriage; I only planned on talking about passion and commitment. Strange, how did marriage come up?

I was recently thinking about what motivates us to work, especially in the context of volunteerism or the non-profit sector. It feels like it's almost becoming trendy nowadays to be passionate about causes. But is passion the right motivator? From what I know about humans, passion is fleeting. It comes and goes. And that is why we need commitment in (at least) equal measure. Passion without commitment will burn low, fade away, run out and leave us disillusioned.

Yesterday, I asked on Twitter: "Does commitment follow from passion, or does passion result from commitment?" Most people responded, "both," and I agree. As in the case of marrying, passion often leads us to make commitments. But it can also work the other way around. Committing to something can cause passion to grow. And here is why: We tend to be passionate about things that we are good at and know a lot about—things in which we've invested time and energy. (Tweet that!)

Passion waxes and wanes. If you want to cultivate it, commit to something and give it your all. Passion will grow as your expertise grows. As you work towards something for years, gain specialized knowledge about a topic, and become an expert in the field, you will find yourself more passionate about what it is you're doing because you are invested.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Social Capital & European Society

Social capital and its role in society have been defined by many different scholars and writers in different ways. Lyda Hanifan was one of the first to use the term in 1916. Her definition of social capital was, “Those tangible assets [that] count for most in the daily lives of people: namely goodwill, fellowship, sympathy, and social intercourse among the individuals and families who make up a social unit.” Other academics such as Jane Jacobs (1961), Pierre Bourdieu (1983) and James S. Coleman (1988) have done much to carry the concept further over the years. More recently, Robert Putnam has become an important writer on the topic, and is also much responsible for bringing the term into popular use after his 2000 book Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. In one of his earlier publications he writes, “social capital refers to features of social organization, such as networks, norms, and trust, that facilitate coordination and cooperation for mutual benefit” (Putnam, 1993). The Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has written much about social capital as it relates to their work. In one of their publications, Brian Keeley (2007) writes, “We can think of social capital as the links, shared values and understandings in society that enable individuals and groups to trust each other and so work together (Keeley, 2007).” It is challenging to bring all these definitions together. For the purpose of this paper, social capital will simply refer to: the values and social norms embedded in a society that create social cohesion, encourages individuals to trust each other and facilitates cooperation.

Europe as a society has been shaped, in large part, by an abundance of social capital that has allowed it to grow and prosper economically. The shared norms and values held by Europeans throughout the centuries—values such as honesty, keeping of commitments, respect for people’s property, safety and security, goodwill, self-sacrifice and reliable performance of duties—which are largely a result of the widespread adoption of Christian tradition, have been an essential, underlying foundation upon which European peoples have cooperated. The networks of trust, or social cohesion, created by these shared norms have enabled Europeans to work together to build an advanced, civilized society that could not have been possible without this abundance. The World Bank Group writes, “social cohesion is critical for societies to prosper economically and for development to be sustainable… [it] is not just the sum of the institutions which underpin a society – it is the glue that holds them together (World Bank, 2011).” Indeed, it was this unique abundance of social capital that led this small peninsula at the tip of Asia to be called by many as simply “The Continent;” it is what has made Europe “Europe,” distinct from its eastern roots (Fountain, 2004).

A growing body of research has demonstrated how social capital contributes towards economic growth and prosperity (e.g. Whiteley, 2000; World Bank, 2011; Iyer, Kitson & Toh 2005). Central to understanding how this works is the idea that certain norms and values (such as the ones mentioned above) actually have economic value in that they foster economically beneficial relationships and cooperation—and in doing so they lower transaction costs (Fukuyama, 2001). It is no coincidence that countries where interpersonal trust is higher and social capital is stronger also have the most developed economies (Knack & Keefer, 1997; Knack, 2002).

A good way to demonstrate how trust and social capital has economic value is to use an illustration. Vishal Mangalwadi, an Indian author and philosopher, describes in one of his books (Mangalwadi, 2009) his first visit to the Netherlands during which time he realized that trust is a valuable economic asset. On this visit while staying in a rural part of the country, his host took him to buy fresh milk. They walked to a neighbouring farm and entered through an unlocked door into the facility where cows were milked. His host proceeded to fill his milk jugs from the vat, and then deposited money into a jar. They proceeded to leave with their milk, never encountering another person during the entire transaction. Mangalwadi was dumbfounded. He did not understand what prevented others from coming to steal the money in the jar, or to at least take the milk for free (not to mention the cows). This brief example shows how social capital can contribute to economic prosperity—but also how fragile it is. Because the milk farmer trusted his neighbours to pay for their milk without supervision, it lowered the transaction costs. Conversely, if the farmer at some point experienced theft, he may lose trust and take precautions by hiring someone to manage the transactions, ultimately leading to an increase in the price of milk. Taking the argument even further, if the hired worker were not himself trustworthy, and only made rational decisions based upon his own return on investment, he might begin pocketing some of the money. Continuing to lose, the milk farmer may be tempted to boost profits by watering down his milk. His customers would then be forced to create a regulatory institution that could ensure quality—further hiking up prices. This scenario shows, albeit on a very small scale, how social cohesion has economic benefit, and how the breakdown of trust in an economy can have detrimental and far-reaching effects. Mangalwadi realized what European communities had that was largely lacking in his own country, and what was responsible for the relative difference in economic prosperity: social capital.

The breakdown of the trust relationship between public transport companies and those using public transport in the Netherlands was one of the main reasons for the introduction of the OV chip card system, and serves an example of how social cohesion is deteriorating in Europe. The system, which cost a fortune to implement, was a rational response by the public transport companies in the face of profit losses due to fraud on the part of commuters who could no longer be trusted to “punch in” with their strippenkaart (Thales Group, 2011). By deviating from the social norms (namely honesty and trustworthiness), and cheating the system, the very consumers who tried to avoid costs to themselves in the short term, effectively caused the prices of public transport to increase for the entire society. Similar phenomenon can be observed throughout Europe in the corporate world and even politics. As people place less value on the social norms that have helped to shape Europe, social cohesion deteriorates and people trust each other less. As social cohesion breaks down, individuals tend to make decisions based solely on their personal rate of return rather than what is beneficial or “right” for the network in which they are embedded.

There are numerous reasons why social capital can be said to be on the decline in Europe. One of the main reasons is the diminishing role of the family in society. Increasingly more children are growing up with only one parent, or with parents that do not live together (Morgan & Zippel, 2003). Additionally it is increasingly more common that both parents work, and therefore invest less time with their children. Traditionally, the family has played the greatest role in passing on important social values and norms that constitute social capital (Putnam, 2000). Another possible reason for the decline may be decreased involvement with religious institutions. Increasingly fewer Europeans affiliate themselves with religious beliefs (Pollack, 2008). Religious institutions have been shown to play an important role in the development of social capital (Fukuyama, 2001).

The reasons why these values and social norms are disappearing are many and varied, but the results are clear: trust disappears, and transaction costs increase as problems like corruption, bribery, fraud and criminality take their place. Studies have shown that corruption raises the cost of capital and uncertainty in the economy (Gray & Kaufman, 1998), and some studies have shown that corruption is even spreading in Western Europe (Porta, 1997). On the other hand however, the same study shows that society is also becoming more concerned about problems like corruption and wants to do more to fight them. Also, while many of the traditional values that have contributed to social capital are on the decline, other values such as tolerance, environmentalism and social responsibility are on the rise in Europe. Additionally, the average economic and social well-being in much of Western Europe has been steady or on the rise.

How does one reconcile these seemingly inconsistent trends? Perhaps social capital is merely changing form. One other possibility is that Europe is not yet fully experiencing the effects of its steady decline in social capital, but is still reaping the benefits of the strong social cohesion created by prior generations. If this is the case, it is only a matter of time until Europe undergoes a painful transformation. As social capital continues to decline, it may be that Europe no longer finds itself positioned next to the United States at the forefront of the global economy.

Fountain, J. (2004). Living as people of hope (p. 53). Rotterdam: Initialmedia. 

Fukuyama, F. (2001). Social capital, civil society and development. Third world quarterly, 22(1), 7-20.

Gray, Cheryl W.; Kaufman, Daniel (1998). Corruption and Development. World Bank, Washington, DC. https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/handle/10986/11545

Hanifan, L. J. (1916). The Rural School Community Centre. Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Sciences. 67, 130-38.

Iyer, S., Kitson, M., & Toh, B. (2005). Social capital, economic growth and regional development. Regional Studies, 39(8), 1015-1040.

Keeley, B. (2007). OECD Insights Human Capital How what you know shapes your life: How what you know shapes your life. OECD Publishing.

Knack, S. (2002). Social capital, growth and poverty: A survey of cross-country evidence. The role of social capital in development: An empirical assessment, 42-82.

Knack, S., & Keefer, P. (1997). Does social capital have an economic payoff? A cross-country investigation. The Quarterly journal of economics, 1251-1288.

Mangalwadi, V. (2009). Truth and transformation: A manifesto for ailing nations. Seattle: YWAM Publishing.

Morgan, K. J., & Zippel, K. (2003). Paid to care: The origins and effects of care leave policies in Western Europe. Social Politics: International Studies in Gender, State & Society, 10(1), 49-85.

Pollack, D. (2008). Religious change in Europe: theoretical considerations and empirical findings. Social compass, 55(2), 168-186.

Porta, D. (1997). Democracy and corruption in Europe. London: Pinter.

Putnam, R. (1993). The prosperous community: social capital and public life. The American Prospect, 13(Spring), Vol. 4.

Putnam, R. (2000). Bowling alone: The collapse and revival of American community. New York: Simon & Schuster.

Thales Group (2011). The OV-chipkaart Story: A Nationwide Interoperable Fare Collection System in the Netherlands. ThalesGroup.com. Retrieved Dec. 13, 2014, from https://www.thalesgroup.com/sites/default/files/asset/document/thales_-_the_ovchipkaart_story_-_v2.pdf

The World Bank Group. (2011). What is Social Capital. Retrieved 12 11, 2014, from World Bank: http://go.worldbank.org/K4LUMW43B0

Whiteley, P. F. (2000). Economic growth and social capital. Political Studies,48(3), 443-466.