Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Max Sawicky — For Noah and Nick

Max Sawicky rejects the need for and appropriateness of "human capital."

The traditional factors have traditionally been decompose as needed into types of capital, and types and uses of land such as agricultural, resource extraction, commercial and residential, as well as types and grades of labor, with the distinction of salaried versus wage, management versus worker, white collar versus blue collar, skilled versus skilled. The supposed need to introduce a new distinction or to fold land into capital are an unnecessary and confusing aggregation that clouds modeling instead of clarifying it.

Do firms use the concept of human capital? For sure. It's a buzz word. Management attempts to produce metrics on the dollar value employees produce over time, which is the ROI with respect to the cost of employing them. But they are still employees even if the firm seeks to capitalize them for management purposes, e.g., retention and promotion and compensation. They are still part of labor and not capital goods. Labor is not fixed investment and it is not depreciated. In fact, unlike capital, labor tends to appreciate over time rather than depreciate, especially in modern environments that don't wear down workers, although some business models are still based on this, especially for foreign labor in developing countries where protections are slight to non-existent.

For Noah and Nick
Max Sawicky

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