Purpose – Many transactions are partly carried out within social networks and without payment, partly commercially on the market. The paper aims to explore the interdependencies between shrinking cooperation in society and a growing service sector. Design/methodology/approach – The author tries to categorize cooperation and to set it into relation to services carried out against payment. Examples are found where a clear switch from cooperation to the service sector have been taken place. Findings – The paper diagnoses a broad societal switch from socially driven cooperation to the market. Tour reps at holiday clubs, psychologists and nurses for the elderly are all rising professions and are used as cases in point. Utility theory sees such switches as a rise in GDP and therefore as something positive. From a happiness research perspective, however, switching from cooperation to markets will probably lead to declining social capital. Research limitations/implications – The overall impact to societal utility remains unclear. Originality/value – This is an example for a phenomenon where happiness research leads to very different results from welfare economics.
International Journal of Social Economics – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 11, 2008
Keywords: Economic cooperation; Social interaction; Social economics
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