In this chapter, John Helliwell sets the scene for many of the papers that follow by providing an up-to-date and lucid survey of the literature on the impact of social capital on both the economy or economic performance and well-being. This latter term is closely related to the concept of social progress used in this volume. He begins by defining social capital as the networks and norms that facilitate cooperative activities within groups (bonding social capital) and between groups (bridging social capital). Helliwell documents a number of studies that show that social capital actually saves lives. He surveys the literature on subjective well-being, pointing out that unemployment lowers subjective well-being by more than the usual measure of economic cost and certainly more than inflation.