Human Capital, the key to our future

Human capital concept in tag cloud

Alexis Camacho – Honorbound

Our society is extremely competitive because it is in our human nature, if we were not we would never see the progress of the world today. Furthermore, this “competitiveness” can especially be seen when it comes to the various occupations that individuals can potentially obtain for themselves. With job security, individuals carry out their daily life routines by exhibiting the rudimentary relationship between scarcity and choice, the very factors that dictate their decision to improve their “human capital”. Human capital is “the sum total of skills embodied within an individual”. [1] Ultimately one can make themselves stand out in the workforce by their “intelligence, charisma, creativity, work experience, entrepreneurial vigor”, and essentially anything that enhances their overall demeanor.[2] However, these skills and varying attributes determine the eligibility of workers today, what is not taken into consideration is the future: humans competing against machines for a job. Therefore, workers need to make greater investments in their human capital in order to keep up with the advancements in our technological world.

With time comes change; however, the world is rapidly advancing in our innovation and productivity all merits to technology. Yet, with such enormous feats in technology, there has been a ripple effect causing some professions to die over the past “ ten years, such as Prepress technicians, Advertising managers, and semiconductor processors”.[3] Consequently, we approach creative destruction in our future where minuscule jobs like baristas and the most esteemed jobs like Physicians could be replaced. [4] Furthermore, in order to adjust to the automation, individuals can strengthen their human capital because “you cannot separate a person from his or her knowledge, skills, or values”. [5] For example, a farmer can invest his time in acquiring a “Ph. D in agronomy… and design a plow that produces even better yields” than he did when he was farming by hand. [6] Wheelan further emphasizes the point on how the farmer enriched his skills by obtaining more education which gave him a vast advantage. If the farmer did not take any initiative to invest in his own human capital, he most likely would have been crushed by his competitors and the technological advancements in the competitive agriculture business. Moreover, instead of worrying about job security in the future, individuals can refine their skills or expand on them while maintaining productivity in the economy.

Although a person has a plethora of methods to embellish on their human capital, “education and training are the most important investments in the work force [7]. Thus, in the future when “humanoid machines are the cause of job losses, existing workers can enhance their capability and capacity” by educating themselves in the jobs that are in demand with technology.[8]

[1] Wheelan, Charles, Naked Economics Undressing the Dismal Science (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2010), 127.

[2] Wheelan, Charles, Naked Economics Undressing the Dismal Science (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2010), 127.

[3] “Human Capital and Your Financial Plan.” Thrive Wealth Management. October 7, 2016. Accessed March 29, 2017. http://www.thrivewealth.com/blog/human-capital-and-your-financial-plan.

[4] Wheelan, Charles, Naked Economics Undressing the Dismal Science (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2010), 133.

[5] Herbert, Ian, Aravindhan Dhayalan, and Andy Scott. “The future of professional work-will you be replaced, or will you be sitting next to a robot?.” (2016).

[6] Wheelan, Charles, Naked Economics Undressing the Dismal Science (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2010), 133.

[7] Becker, Gary S. “Human capital revisited.” In Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis with Special Reference to Education (3rd Edition), pp. 15-28. The University of Chicago Press, 1994.

[8] Herbert, Ian, Aravindhan Dhayalan, and Andy Scott. “The future of professional work-will you be replaced, or will you be sitting next to a robot?.” (2016).

[9] Picture: “Human Capital and Your Financial Plan.” Thrive Wealth Management. October 7, 2016. Accessed March 29, 2017. http://www.thrivewealth.com/blog/human-capital-and-your-financial-plan.

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