No. 39



The Price of Social Resource and the Opportunities of a Cohesive Society

  • Aimar Altosaar

    Aimar Altosaar

    Project Manager, Estonian Center of Eastern Partnership; Editor of the column “Meie Eesti”, Postimees

Social capital and social cohesion are underrated values because they are more complicated issues to discuss than material values, legislation, and governance and administrative structures.

Solutions to social and economic problems have been seen to lie primarily in establishing more regulations, developing the skills of individuals and attempting to unify all people in some way. The modern high-technology economic environment, the increasingly complicated legislation and public administration, as well as international agreements and institutions may seem pointless or even a kind of incomprehensible conspiracy to the majority of the people. In order to ensure a secure and high-quality living environment, nowadays it is inevitable to integrate communities and societies, develop trust relationships and establish viable social networks. This is a very labour- and time-intensive activity. It requires establishment of institutions which become increasingly complicated in their structure as human communities grow larger and the nature of work evolves.

The population of a small country must be especially strongly integrated internally if it wishes to persist as a nation. Community spirit is one of the important components of cohesion, and nowadays it means equality of all community members, regardless of individual differences, because every person has a worthy role in a well-functioning community. Such an attitude towards every person must also extend to the working environment where every person has the possibility to adjust their workplace to their personalised space, because standardised tasks are increasingly solved by smart machines. International studies on cohesion show that, among the developed OSCE countries, Estonia ranks as average. It is much less integrated than our Nordic neighbours, but more integrated than all other Eastern and Central European countries.