Should Human Capital Really Be Our Focus?

Abby Ray, Period 1, Honorbound

[1]

human capital blog 2

A highschool drop out is placed on the side of the street. Instead of offering a job, businesses offer the person a ticket out of town. Then, a college graduate is placed on the same corner and is offered a job immediately. Why is this? Human Capital. Charles Wheelan describes human capital as “the sum total of skills embodied within an individual: education, intelligence, charisma, creativity, work experience, entrepreneurial vigor, even the ability to throw a baseball fast” [2]. Wheelan even goes on to talk about how lack of human capital is the cause of poverty [3]. So, if human capital is so important, shouldn’t the government focus on enhancing it?

In the economy, the most important factor is productivity. One of the most important things linked to productivity is human capital [4]. Keynes notes that “productivity is everything” [5]. As we become more productive, we make more which makes the economy richer. Therefore, in order for the economy to continuously grow and succeed, there needs to be a boost in human capital. Wheelan explains that even the poor are living better than in the past due to our productivity. “The poverty line is now at a level of real income that was attained only by those in the top 10 percent of the income distribution a century ago” [6]. Due to the boost in human capital, there was a boost in productivity which actually helps the poor.

Another example of human capital would be Steve Jobs. Jobs founded Apple in 1976 with Wozniak. At first, their computers received high success rates; however, a lot of new products suffered causing Jobs to get fired. Due to Jobs’ human capital, he was able to find Pixar granting him huge successes and allowing him to be the CEO of Apple [7]. The reason why Jobs was able to be successful after a setback was because of human capital. If someone, like Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, has a unique set of skills, they will be better off [8].

The only problem with human capital is that not all people have as much as others, and not all people are granted the opportunity to increase their human capital. For instance, many people do not go to college, and since education is one of the key factors of boosting human capital, these people are not able to do so. Therefore, the government should use its efforts to help education become more easily accessible/available in order for the human capital to rise. If government wants overall society to be better off (since the role of the government is to promote good), then they need to focus on human capital [9]. Therefore, the government needs to focus on human capital because if America wants to be “the big winners of our age”, then they must understand how to increase human capital [10].

[1] “Human Capital Stock Photos and Images (4,667).” Human Capital Stock Photos and Images. 4,667 Human Capital Pictures and Royalty Free Photography Available to Search from Thousands of Stock Photographers. Accessed June 23, 2017. http://www.canstockphoto.com/images-photos/human-capital.html

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

[3] Charles Wheelan, Naked economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010), 129.

[4] Charles Wheelan, Naked economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010), 135.

[5] Charles Wheelan, Naked economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010), 136.

[6] ibid.

[7] “Steve Jobs.” Biography.com. A&E Networks Television, April 28, 2017. Accessed June 23, 2017. https://www.biography.com/people/steve-jobs-9354805

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

[9] Charles Wheelan, Naked economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010), 134.

[10] Charles Wheelan, Naked economics: Undressing the Dismal Science (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2010), 147.

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