One More Step Down

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In the course of a presentation yesterday, I discovered I had been demoted. Where once I was a member of that class of entities known as "human resources," my new masters and virtual owners have determined that what once was a resource is now "human capital."

I can't tell you how appalled I was by this terminology. It was bad enough to be a resource, but to so baldly state that I am here to be spent and discarded as capital is flushed through an economic system. . . ah, long live unbridled, unhindered, uninhibited capitalism, which gives us such gems as these. (As opposed to a cog in the worker's machine on the other side. Isn't it wonderful how economic systems manage to make those involved feel so human, so needed, so absolutely imbued with the dignity of a child of God?)

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Well, a capital's better than a county seat, yes?

There is a tone-deafness is there not? It would cost them nothing to call us something with a bit more dignity.

Well at least in the military they still call it Personnel.

It is strange though how they keep using human in such a non-human context.

You need to remember the audience. "Capital" is what makes the system go. Capital is to be invested, not squandered. You don't show Capital to the door.

At least, that's what I'm telling myself.


Thank you so much for that very positive spin on things. It really hadn't occurred to me--and that is so much better a way of looking at it.

You've really made my day. Thanks!



Yes, ironically enough I think it's imagined by people with too much corporate in their brains to be a positive term, the idea being that "resources" are thinks like note paper and power point projectors that you check out of a cupboard, while "capital" is the definition of what your company is worth.

All of which goes to show that these people need to go home and actually live life a bit more.

My pet peeve. Folks in the Federal government adopted the term awhile ago and it is moving throughout the land.

My thoughts on this sad development:

A. Professionals in Human Resources (formerly Personnel are trying to make a case that their discipline contributes to the bottom line. They are trying to get the bean-counters to see them as value added rather than overhead.

B. Another indicator of the loss of the sense of humanity. We are all being reduced to economical units and we have value only as long as we are economically viable. When we interfere with a young woman's ability to be more economically viable or we prevent family members from being more economically viable, we are dispensable(abortion and euthanasia)

c. Ironically, ignores the fact that humans ultimately do not perform well when they are treated as dispensable objects that exist to produce wealth. So instead of generating capital my prediction is that eventually this will lead to a reduction in capital as professionals in the field allow costs to be the dominant factor in salary, benefits, and work place environment enhancements rather than creating an environment that supports the workers whole person. It is only the latter which will result in sustained increases in productivity and capital over time.



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on December 14, 2007 8:17 AM.

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