Social Capital Saves the...Dollar!

Yesterday I had a conversation with a neighbor which perfectly illustrated one of the benefits of social capital. Forgot what social capital is? Here’s the quick definition: 

The central premise of social capital is that social networks have value. Social capital refers to the collective value of all “social networks” [who people know] and the inclinations that arise from these networks to do things for each other [“norms of reciprocity”]. The term social capital emphasizes not just warm and cuddly feelings, but a wide variety of quite specific benefits that flow from the trust, reciprocity, information, and cooperation associated with social networks. Social capital creates value for the people who are connected and, at least sometimes, for bystanders as well.  
— Harvard Kennedy School

My neighbor, “Graham” has a riding lawnmower. A front wheel bearing went out, so he started calling stores to find a replacement bearing and rim. After calling three different places the consistent price for a new one was just under $40 (remember this was for the bearing and rim). 

Then Graham called on his social capital and walked down to a neighbor who does all kinds of mechanical work. There he asked Buddy if he had any suggestions. Buddy looked the part over and said, “You gotta go to Harbor Freight. They’ll have that part there, much cheaper.” 

Graham followed Buddy’s advice, went to Harbor Freight and discovered he could get the bearing and rim AND the tube AND the tire ALL for under $10! Graham saved over $30! That’s an amazing savings. 

But here is what we can so easily overlook, all of this only happened because Graham has taken the time to get to know his neighbors and took the initiative to reach out to the experts on his block. When he did so, it was totally worth it!