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The Problem with Human Capital Theory—A Marxian Critique

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... Various neoclassical economists have attempted to expound on the concept of human capital . Bowles and Becker are two prominent neoclassical economists that further developed the concept of human capital (Bowles & Gintis, 1975). Bowles and Gintis (1975), influenced by Marx, looked to incorporate how class and class conflict influence an individual's ability to operate whereas Becker (2008) focuses more on how discrimination moderates an individual's income (Becker, 2008;. ...
... Bowles and Becker are two prominent neoclassical economists that further developed the concept of human capital (Bowles & Gintis, 1975). Bowles and Gintis (1975), influenced by Marx, looked to incorporate how class and class conflict influence an individual's ability to operate whereas Becker (2008) focuses more on how discrimination moderates an individual's income (Becker, 2008;. Becker (1964) identified the social environment, ideas and potential as human capital assets (Krasniqi & Topxhiu, 2016;. ...
... Mincer (1974) eluded on how education influences earning power . Bowles and Gintis (1975) investigated the possibility to include class conflict as influencing knowledge and skills possessed . Becker (1993) further developed the work of Mincer and constructed a mathematical pattern and tested it against broad empirical data. ...
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The dissertation aimed to explore the influence of psychological capital and organisational commitment on job performance among tradesmen in Zimbabwe. The Psychological capital questionnaire, Organisational commitment scale, University of the Fraser Valley job evaluation questionnaire and a biographical questionnaire were used for data collection from individuals within boilermaking and fitting and turning trades, and their respective supervisors in four organisations in the Midlands province in Zimbabwe. Statistical analysis techniques performed included reliability tests for internal consistency, Spearman Rho rank-order correlation coefficients, Mann Whitney U-test and multiple regression. The results indicated that psychological capital and organisational commitment have a statistically non-significant influence on both task performance and contextual performance among tradesmen in Zimbabwe. The study has added valuable knowledge to the existing literature on positive organisational behaviour. Insights gained will assist organisations in designing job performance strategies that build on the developmental nature of these innate motivators.
... The importance of labor productivity to economic growth and development gave rise to Human Capital Theory in the 1960s, positing that investments in education and training can increase innovation, creativity, and ultimately the productive capacity of individuals (58). While the theory has long had its critics (59)(60)(61), the post-modern shift toward knowledge-and servicebased economies is refocusing attention on human aptitude as a critical driver of productivity, competitiveness, and prosperity (57,62). Concepts of "brain capital" (63) and "mental capital" (56) are being emphasized as fundamental assets for economic reimagining. ...
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The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the deep links and fragility of economic, health and social systems. Discussions of reconstruction include renewed interest in moving beyond GDP and recognizing “human capital”, “brain capital”, “mental capital”, and “wellbeing” as assets fundamental to economic reimagining, productivity, and prosperity. This paper describes how the conceptualization of Mental Wealth provides an important framing for measuring and shaping social and economic renewal to underpin healthy, productive, resilient, and thriving communities. We propose a transdisciplinary application of systems modeling to forecast a nation's Mental Wealth and understand the extent to which policy-mediated changes in economic, social, and health sectors could enhance collective mental health and wellbeing, social cohesion, and national prosperity. Specifically, simulation will allow comparison of the projected impacts of a range of cross-sector strategies (education sector, mental health system, labor market, and macroeconomic reforms) on GDP and national Mental Wealth, and provide decision support capability for future investments and actions to foster Mental Wealth. Finally, this paper introduces the Mental Wealth Initiative that is harnessing complex systems science to examine the interrelationships between social, commercial, and structural determinants of mental health and wellbeing, and working to empirically challenge the notion that fostering universal social prosperity is at odds with economic and commercial interests.
... La empleabilidad, como bien señala Ebersold (2004), significa un proceso de mercantilización de la relación laboral, en la que los sujetos en búsqueda de empleo son socializados en los principios que imperan en la era postfordista de la flexibilidad (Santos Ortega, Moldes Farelo y Montalba Ocaña, 2004), es decir, en la necesidad de venderse a sí mismos, de mostrarse como personas dóciles y adaptables a las 7 Distintas son las críticas que se han realizado tanto al interior de la misma escuela neoclásica como desde otras perspectivas heterodoxas. Para profundizar las críticas al interior de la ortodoxia, se puede consultar Morduchowicz, (2004); para indagar acerca de críticas que abordan la relación entre educación y trabajo desde una perspectiva institucionalista ver Thurow (1983), Spence, (1973) y Arrow, (1973; desde una perspectiva marxista ver Bowels y Gintis, (1975, 1977 y Frigotto (1998). 8 La empleabilidad asociativa vincula la probabilidad de acceso al empleo con las características individuales de las personas, planteando que la situación de desempleo y vulnerabilidad social está asociada a la baja cualificación y formación para el empleo, como a déficits en las disposiciones hacia el trabajo (mostrarse proactivo, tener iniciativa, respetar a los superiores, etc.). ...
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El objetivo de este trabajo es analizar las políticas sociolaborales implementadas en Europa, a la luz de dos regímenes de bienestar: el welfare state (1945-1975) y el workfare state (1975 en adelante). Con una perspectiva histórica, el artículo busca visibilizar el modo en que las distintas teorías sobre el trabajo, el empleo y el desempleo, moldean formas y perspectivas de hacer política, que se materializan en modelos de políticas sociolaborales diferentes. Ello cobra importancia en la medida en que muchos de los dispositivos implementados en los países de América Latina son promovidos por organismos internacionales que reproducen estas lógicas, construidas en ambientes con historias y problemas diferentes. ABSTRACT The objective of this article is to analyze the social and labor market policies implemented by European countries in the light of two welfare regimes: the welfare state (1945-1975) and the workfare state (1975 onwards). With a historical perspective, this article aims to make visible the way in which different theories about labor, employment and unemployment mould shapes and perspectives of policymaking, which materialize in models of different social and labor policies. This becomes important to the extent that many of the devices implemented in Latin American countries are promoted by international organizations that reproduce these logics, built in environments with different history and problems.
... Human capital is developed through investment in education, training, and health (Holden and Biddle 2017). It is, however, worth noting that literature does not show how the acquisition of knowledge and skills alone translates into better living conditions (Bowles and Gintis 1975;Wößmann 2003). Given the strengths and weaknesses of the two theories, a blend, therefore, provided the lens for analysing the subject matter of this paper. ...
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Efforts at reducing poverty have chalked modest success in developing countries. This is partly because of the limited access to formal and informal financial services, especially in rural communities. The village savings and loans associations (VSLAs), therefore, serve as a leading conduit for increasing investment, economic empowerment, and poverty reduction. However, this assertion has no empirical evidence in the Upper West Region—the poorest region in Ghana. This study examined how VSLAs contributed to farming activities and assets accumulation of participants in the two poorest districts in the region. The study deployed the mixed research approach and the after-only study design as the strategy of enquiry. Using random simple sampling, the study selected 206 respondents for the survey, while purposive sampling was relied upon to select discussants of focused groups. Questionnaire, focus group discussion guide and camera were used to elicit quantitative and qualitative data. The study used assets, farm investment, investment in education and health, and household food as benchmarks for measuring the contributions of the associations. Descriptive statistics and Mann–Whitney U test were adopted to analyse the quantitative data, while the thematic analysis was used for the qualitative data. The study found that participants procured productive and non-productive assets after joining VSLAs. They also spent on food, health insurance, and education materials. Thus, the funds were thinly spread on many investment items, which hinder the realization of the full potential of the associations. The study recommends that participants should direct their investment towards procuring more productive assets.
... Its orthodox definition is firmly set within a neoclassical theoretical context which places it alongside other types of capital as primarily instrumental in production and as a source of returns for its owner. Within the broad definition of the NSI, this usage is inappropriate in its limitations and ideological implications (see Bowles and Gintis 1975). In this chapter human capital is rather defined along the lines of human capability, a la Sen's (1999) definition. ...
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The book The Role of the State, edited by Mario Scerri (South Africa) and Helena M. M. Lastres (Brazil) aims at exploring the relationship between the state and the national systems of innovation in BRICS countries. An evolutionary approach has been adopted in order to capture the nature of the state in the respective countries and thus understand the historical and ideological basis for its role in the evolution of the NSI in the five countries. As a background, it is argued that debates on the role of the state in the development process, especially since the 1980s, have often focused on the apparent dichotomy between market-driven and state-driven development. This is a rather wasteful diversion, since it should be accepted as a starting premise that the State is essential to the structural transformation that is required for development.
... Dentro de los autores marxistas que se han encargado de la explicación de las desigualdades sociales en EE.UU. y de la crítica al modelo de distribución propuesto por Becker, las obras de Harry Braveman (1974) y las publicaciones conjuntas de S. Bowles y H. Gintis (1975) han destacado ampliamente en la literatura contemporánea sobre el tema. Sus investigaciones abordan el problema de la progresiva degradación del trabajo devenido una mercancía en las sociedades capitalistas, las diferencias conceptuales entre trabajo y fuerza de trabajo y la existencia de los ejércitos de reserva. ...
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En el transcurso de esta investigación se abordan temáticas que actualmente se encuentran sobre la mesa de debate en relación al mercado laboral en España. Su objetivo principal es el estudio de la movilidad que los distintos colectivos de trabajadores tienen en función del cambio de sector de actividad y de provincia, como forma explorar los procesos de ajuste estructural que se han ocasionado a partir del año 2007. La perspectiva de análisis que se ha utilizado mantiene como punto de referencia central la segmentación de los mercados laborales y se ha servido de la aplicación de novedosas técnicas de construcción y análisis de datos sintéticos.
... Human capital theory advances education and training programmes, employee turnover and employee retention strategy as well as financial benefits acquired from investment in human capital (Becker, 1993;Harbison & Myer, 1964;Zula & Chermack, 2007). To the contrary, skilled labour is perceived as a commodity to maximise capitalist profit and legitimises economic inequality (Bowles & Gintis, 1975). Performance improvement theory focuses on human performance linked to economic investment and provisioning of rewards to enhance productivity inclusive of consequence management (Denison;1967;Gilbert, 1978;Rummler & Brache, 1988;Swanson, 1999). ...
Article
Bojanala Platinum District Municipality (BPDM), in the North-West Province, South Africa, is endowed with an extractive economy. The District experiences challenges of capacity development of service delivery structures and programmes. It is in this context that this paper examines how local government responses to challenges of capacity development and explores ways in which organisational structures and programmes can be used to overcome these challenges for enhanced service delivery. The theoretical framing of this study underpins capacity development as an enabler of service delivery and incorporates human capital, performance improvement and collaborative participation in the context of local government. The research employed a single case qualitative research approach with a component of descriptive statistics and a sample of 30 municipal senior managers and a social development mine manager. Key findings are that organisational learning and skills development play important roles in enhancing the capacity development of service delivery structures and programmes. It is against these findings that the study recommends the creation of supportive monitoring and evaluation systems to advance the strengthening of functional hybrid governance structures and an organic communication model within a transparent and accountable administrative-political environment.
... Elites increasingly came to be defined-and created-by education, as opposed to property, family status, and political power. As one example, education credentials represent the few legally accepted rationales for providing unequal pay for equal work, despite the well-known and long-standing doubts about human capital theory as a rationale for this practice (Bowles and Gintis 1975;Collins 1971). As another, residential segregation (perhaps especially in the U.S.) is now driven by parents moving to good schools (Owens 2017). ...
Conference Paper
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A country in order to be successful requires talented and trained people. In fact, the future of a country is related particularly to its human capital. Investing in human resources is fundamental from the individual perspective, the social perspective, and the economic perspective, given that the natural resources are limited in front of the endless and growing needs of the population. The human capital of a country which consists of the capabilities of its people can be the most important source in the long run than any other source. Therefore it has to be invested efficiently in order that the whole economy can benefit from it. The purpose of this paper is to evince the importance of human capital in economic growth and to analyze its development in the region countries by using the human development index. It was chosen this index due to its complexity in evaluating human capital. This index consists of three variables; life expectancy, education, and income per capita. Human capital challenges are essential for the stability in the short term and for economic growth and prosperity in the long run
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