People Are Not 'Human Capital Stock'



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The terminology to which you object is jargon common to economic discussions. Most probably those using such language are not seeking to give any offense to anyone any more than they are seeking to dehumanize people. They are merely using the jargon of their discipline. That they do so without warm emotion is to be expected. Economics is typically approached thoughtfully not emotionally.

It is not unlike offense taken by some when others use terminology such as “product of conception” or “fetus” to identify a unborn baby. This jargon used by some is to others offensive simply because they consider it to dehumanize a unborn baby.

Bthomas more than 1 year ago

No, The Objection is Legitimate

I know perfectly well that this is "jargon common to economic discussion." However, if you listen to Mr. Hasssett's statement, you will hear him say, "Our human capital stock is ready to get back to work." This implies a kind of agency or subjectivity in initiative and action unique to personhood. If HCS is, as most definitions will tell us, knowledge, skill, etc., then it is a possession of personhood - something appropriately used by people who may or may not be ready to get back to work. To imply that it in itself is "ready to get back to work" is to assume a subjectivity that does not belong to HCS -- while at the same time implying that human agents are little more than this inanimate collection of resources to be used. As to your observation regarding the unborn: I don't dispute your point at all. Intention on the part of the speaker is not the issue here. The impact of that which is assumed IS the issue.

Christopher P. Momany more than 1 year ago


Hassett's statement spoke to the issue of America getting back to work. It was directed at the desire to get back to work. Read through a lens of emotional assumption will consequently be blurred. His statement is plain, unadorned by emotion. It is not a commentary on historical experience. It is a statement as to the issue of America getting back to work.

bthomas more than 1 year ago

Not Assumption

This lens is not "emotional assumption." That is a disingenuous way to attempt to discredit a fundamental philosophical analysis. There is a very well established, "rational" tradition of thought behind my critique (Kant, etc., for instance). Attempting to label the objection as "emotional" is a well- known tactic of dismissal, and it is not worthy of posing as "reasoned" response.

Christopher P. Momany more than 1 year ago