One of the most valuable things, and very easy to forget, is relationship. Social cohesion of the global society is a key stock, on a par with physical capital stock and natural resource and sink capacity. Just like damage of nature will affect the economy, damage of society will also affect the economy. Changes in each of them will change the other two significantly. Unfortunately, the invisible property of social relation compared to the other two makes it easy to be forgotten (and thus vulnerable).

It is a bit like Morale in an organization. Hidden, but important to survival of the organization.

Social cohesion is strongly affected by distribution (relative wealth). Wider and wider rich-poor gap (rich gets richer) hurts social relation; decreasing the gap so that weaker people can survive strengthens social cohesion. The problem of current system is that it does not internalize 2 major externalities enough – nature/environment and society/politics. There is social capital but it is not yet defined and entered the mainstream.

The social cost will need to be paid by one day. Society with low social cohesion is very vulnerable to shock. Conflicts make it even weaker. Survivalist who is aware of the crisis but just prepare for himself or his family is likely failed to survive because lack of community support. Human is social animal, don’t underestimate the importance of society.

Of course, it needs not be the case of collapse if we value the cohesion of global society. In this age of globalization, we are actually very interconnected and inter-dependent. We now have the common future (命运共同体).

Currently global community is dominated by international and inter-MNC (multinational corporation) relationship. These are very fragile and better be diversified to many types of relationship, such as inter-regions, inter-cities, inter-NGO and even inter-individual among different nations. The creation of internet and social networking web services is actually opportunity for sustainability, if we know how to utilize them.

Note: When measuring social relation, consider quality besides quantity. Various metrics in social network analysis may be helpful.