The role of social, cultural and symbolic capital in generating national competitive position in Sierra Leone
Jones, Omodele Robert Nicholas
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National competitiveness is forged by the dominant network of Hofstede(an) values and Leung’s social expectations that configure “the set of institutions, policies and factors that determine the level of productivity of a country” (Porter & Schwab, 2008). The development of social infrastructure and political institutions (SIPI) enjoys the clearest link – in the literature - to the relative wealth and poverty of countries. Porter’s seminal 1990 work did not fully account for the contribution of a country’s history and culture to its national competitiveness. His competitiveness Diamond was separated from SIPI in the World Economic Forum’s 2008 Global Competitiveness Report (GCR). However, the GCR does not include a theory of the economic sociol-ogy of national competitiveness. Bourdieu’s sociology of competition is proposed as the foundation of an extended framework. The alternative Coleman/Granovetter/Putnam sociology of integration, popular in business schools and international development including the World Bank, is weaker; albeit with positive contributions that are best harnessed within a Bourdieurien framework. It omits many aspects of economic action, including a link to the macro-economic level, culture, and politics – all of which are integrated within Bourdieu’s economy of practices. Bourdieu’s competition is more consistent with the relevant economics than is Putnam: including, inter alia, the opportunism of William-son’s Contracting Man; Akerlof’s dishonest lemons; the multi-person prisoners’ di-lemmas of Dixit’s economic governance; Fehr & Tyran’s strategic complementarity of a few and Hardin’s Tragedy of the Commons. Bourdieu and the economists indi-cate the imperative to proactively manage the conflicts inherent in human choices re-garding scarce resources. Bourdieu’s Neo-Marxian politics should not prejudice the dispassionate use of the neutral contributions of his economic sociology. External national competitiveness demands internal national cooperation. This re-quires risk mitigation of the inevitable structural forces of Bourdieurien conflict, through the systemic development and inter-generational sustenance of requisite lev-els of Polanyi’s social interest and Putnam’s social trust. 3 - Preliminaries 1-combined-D36674-06-05_Jones_v19.docx Theoretical and applied frameworks are developed that utilise economic and game theory constructs as bridges for the Bourdieurien transport of social, cultural and symbolic capital into the arena of the economy. A rich, mixed methods, exploratory research on Sierra Leone is primarily driven by ethnographic action research to build productivity-enhancing structures of cooperation within the professional sector re-sponsible for a basic requirement of the GCR i.e. the strength of auditing and financial reporting. Taken with the action research, supplementary cross-sectional and contextual analysis suggests that Sierra Leone has the Societal Cynicism dimension, linked to weaker co-operation, lower performance and lower productivity, in Leung’s 2002 studies of so-cial axioms. Results of the action research included the private design and promotion of a new na-tional institution, recognised by the International Accounting Standards Board and the Sierra Leone Government, that seeks to deliver Hardin’s “mutual coercion, mutually agreed upon” within the auditing and accounting sector of Sierra Leone i.e. to build the foundations for a sectoral contribution to a resurgence of national competitiveness.