Breath of Clarity

Different Types of Capital

Human capital and monetary capital are used in our society to preserve the power of the elites in the corporate economy. The article “The Wages of Labor,” from The Wealth of Nations, explains the way that employers take advantage of human capital to make higher profits. The employers are able to exploit a mass amount of workers and pay them low wages. Employers take advantage of physical capital, as well, because they hold more resources and can use those while waiting out a strike. The large quantity of monetary capital in the employers’ possession allows them to assert violence on the workers unions that emerge from wage cuts. In turn, the employers can re-invest their profits into the company and hire more labor, which will increase production because each worker is a unit of profit. Capital allows corporations to be manipulative, as they can afford to fluctuate their wages in accordance with their need for workers.

Cultural capital is used to preserve the power of the elites starting from the educational setting. The article, “Student Social Class and Teacher Expectations: The Self-Fulfilling Prophecy in Ghetto Education” proves that physical appearance matters in expectation formation. The video we watched at the start of the course confirms this theory, as parents would buy their children expensive clothes to highlight their cultural capital. It would make it so that their presentation would reflect a high socio-economic class. The article explains that the kids themselves experience the rewards and disadvantages of cultural capital based on the way they are treated by the other students in the class. The students at the weak tables internalize their positions and their inability to achieve sets them up for a labor-based job. In the article “McJobs: McDonaldization and the Workplace” George Ritzer shows that the use of human capital to carry out simple and scripted tasks leads to irrationality and dehumanization. It transforms the American workforce into mindless individuals who are essentially working to widen the gap between the rich and the poor. The article “The Power of the Elites” explains that these people are “driven by forces they can neither understand or govern” (302). Unless serious change is made to decrease the gap between the rich and the poor, the possession of different types of capital will allow the elites to maintain power.