Can wealth increase our human capital?

Molly Maxwell Honorbound

“Human capital is… what you would be left with if someone stripped away all your assets- your job, our money, your home, your possessions- and left you on a street corner with only the clothes on your back.” -Charles Wheelan, Naked Economics

What this quote is saying, is that human capital is who we are without all of the materials we own, i.e. our wealth. So basically, we are left with all the intangible things in our lives- our intellect, our creativity our reputation, our experience in the work force, and our skill level in certain tasks. It is through the skills we attain in which we increase our human capital, right? The question is: how exactly is one to attain those skills?

Accessibility plays a huge role when it comes to human capital. For example, Investopedia.com explains that, “education not only formally prepares us to work in advanced jobs, it also exercises our minds and allows us to hold on to our ability to continue learning”, naming education the number one most important tactic to increase your human capital. This is significant because human capital is blatantly what we are without our money, but it is through wealth we can attain a substantial education, therefore increasing our human capital. Without the money to receive a concrete education, how is one to increase their human capital?

“The Kardashian family is famous for three things: their looks, their ability to turn those looks into celebrity, and their determination to turn celebrity into income”, says forbes.com. Kim Kardashian is a multimillionaire famous for her and her family’s hit reality television show, Keeping up with the Kardashians. This show has granted them fame, along with skills like ability to model, sense of style, and management and entrepreneurship expertise.  Some may say that if the Kardashians were stripped of their beautiful mansions, expensive cars, and fancy clothes, they would be left with those skills, aka their human capital. How really did they gain those skills? If it weren’t for their wealth and accessibility to the necessary tools in order to achieve those skills, the Kardashians may have a much lesser human capital.

As Kim Kardashian’s wealth has granted her the ability to achieve skills like modeling, fashioning, and managing, her human capital has grown immensely. Although if someone stripped her of every dollar she has ever earned, Kim would still be left with those capabilities. Just like Kim had the accessibility to learn these talents from her wealth, everyday people with the wealth to achieve a higher education are increasing their human capital. Can wealth increase our human capital? Well, where would Kim Kardashian be if she never had the money to learn how to model?

Forbes. Forbes Magazine, n.d. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.

Parker, Tim. “6 Ways To Boost Your Human Capital.” Investopedia. N.p., 05 Mar. 2012. Web. 05 Dec. 2016.

Wheelan, Charles J. Naked Economics: Undressing the Dismal Science. New York: Norton, 2002. Print.

 

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