Explanations for the differences in health status, whether at the level of the individual, household or at the level of the state, have become increasingly linked to social capital rather than any differences in traditional inputs such as drugs, medicines etc. 1 Starting from the idea that societies without social capital are ill and unable to function as effectively as those with ample amounts, the idea of social capital as an effective means of reducing health inequalities has acquired the status of an emerging new paradigm. Through its implications for the well being of households and the level of development of communities, the accumulation of social capital is seen as a necessary pre-condition to any improvement in morbidity levels. In this respect, individuals and groups having little or no social capital are assumed to have a far greater tendency to be ill than those with some or a great deal. This use of social factors to explain ill health is supported by amply documented evidence about the importance of social integration for individual and population health (Berkman and Syme, 1979; Berkman and Breslow, 1984; House and Kahn, 1985). It also reflects evidence from more recent studies that highlight the close relationship between elements of social capital (trust, lack of social support and weak social ties) and mortality rates (Kawachi et al., 1997a, 1999; Putnam, 2000).