Spiritual capital, a relatively new concept in social
sciences, presents unique challenges in its definition and
measurement. This essay explores the definitions of spiritual
capital, its measurement, and the development of a Spiritual Capital
Index (SPI) by Dr. Alex Liu.
II. Defining Spiritual
Spiritual capital encompasses the values, behaviors, and
resources that emerge from spiritual and religious beliefs and
practices. Two prevailing definitions offer a comprehensive
Metanexus Institute's Definition: This
perspective views spiritual capital as the measurable impact of
spiritual and religious practices, beliefs, networks, and
institutions on individuals, communities, and societies.
Author's Definition: Here, spiritual capital is seen as the power,
influence, and dispositions generated by an individual's or
organization's spiritual beliefs, knowledge, and practices.
Both definitions recognize the profound influence of spirituality on
various aspects of human life, extending beyond the personal to
impact broader social and communal spheres.
Measuring Spiritual Capital
Measuring spiritual capital is inherently challenging due
to its intangible nature. However, several approaches have been
Qualitative Assessments: These involve evaluating
the depth of an individual’s or organization's spiritual beliefs,
practices, and their influence on behavior and decision-making.
Quantitative Measurements: Using surveys and questionnaires to
assess aspects such as the frequency of spiritual practices, the
strength of spiritual beliefs, and their impact on lifestyle and
IV. Spiritual Capital Index (SPI)
Dr. Alex Liu's groundbreaking work led to the development
of the Spiritual Capital Index, a tool for quantifying spiritual
capital. The SPI considers various factors, including:
Personal Connection with the Divine: For theists, this involves
measuring the degree of their connection with God.
Noble Life Purposes and Moral Standards: For non-theists, the focus
is on their dedication to high moral standards and life purposes.
Utilization of Spiritual Assets: This aspect evaluates how
individuals utilize their unique spiritual assets in their daily
The SPI thus provides a multifaceted approach to assessing
spiritual capital, accommodating diverse spiritual orientations and
Spiritual capital, with its emphasis on the influence of
spiritual beliefs and practices, offers a nuanced understanding of
how spirituality shapes individual and societal dynamics. The
definitions provided by the Metanexus Institute and the author
highlight its multifaceted nature, while the development of the
Spiritual Capital Index by Dr. Alex Liu represents a significant
stride in its quantification. As this field continues to evolve, the
understanding and measurement of spiritual capital will undoubtedly
enrich discussions on human capital and societal development,
highlighting the integral role of spirituality in various spheres of
4Capital => life
satisfaction of individuals
4Capital => country
Click HERE for a
presentation on measuring spiritual capital
Note: The work
presented here includes research conducted by Dr. Alex Liu at
Stanford University and that for the Global Entrepreneurship
Monitoring initiative. Dr. Alex Liu greatly benefited from valuable
discussions with several accomplished authors, including Danah
Zohar, author of 'Spiritual Capital'; Ernie Chu, author of 'Soul
Currency'; Theodore Roosevelt Malloch, author of 'Spiritual
Enterprise'; and Lawrence M. Miller, author of 'The New Capitalism'.
To cite us, please write "Liu, Alex. 4Capital and
Performance, RM Publishing, 2008, ResearchMethods.org,