In its first part (§ 2-4), the essay presents an outline of market economy in a globalization era, highlighting its marked changes and the wide fields of its questionable nature. In the second part, some discontinuity features came out in the last decades are shown (§ 5). They are particularly referred to critical analysis and alternative experiences springing up from below, (i.e. associations, groups, movements of the civil society) and meeting in a common attempt of getting economy and people’s life with all their social link close again. Afterwards (§ 6-7), it’s stressed as similar concerns can also be found in the very theories by the founder of economic discipline, Adam Smith, and somehow in the works expressing some of the most alternative positions as Karl Polanyi’s. Finally (§ 8) it’s presented the notion of social capital that is the subject of the present issue of Sociologia del Lavoro. Though arising a lively critical debate, potentially the notion seems to open some new scenarios in the social science in pursuit of a new equilibrium between market economy and social link.