Are there forms of capital which are not overtly economic, e.g. political capital? Especially, in what ways is capialism reproduced besides the investment of money into means of production, to extract profit?

  • sorry if the question is badly worded, at present :) – user6917 Feb 18 '17 at 17:50
  • 1
    It seems like something prompted you to think about this. What was it? Something on tv? On radio? Overheard on a bus? The answer might help clarify the question. – Mark Andrews Feb 18 '17 at 20:45
  • 1
    @MATHEMETICIAN Hello, I may be offending you, but will you kindly ask your question related with Marx ( and Engels ) after you read at least Das Capital?. Although, it's lengthy, even reading the Book 1 would give you another light. I am really like, sorry, at the position of Military base where I was given the authority to push the "close" button :) :) !! – Kentaro Tomono Feb 19 '17 at 5:54
  • @KentaroTomono not offended at all, but yes i have read das kapital. i haven't read much more than that, which is why i'm in a place to ask the question – user6917 Feb 19 '17 at 14:53
  • @MarkAndrews the idea of different forms of capital, such as social, and the so called political class, etc. – user6917 Feb 19 '17 at 19:12

In The Great Disruption and in Trust, the conservative political philosopher Francis Fukayama gives an economic interpretation to 'social capital' looking at how liberal economics only works because assumptions based upon traditional principles can be taken for granted.

For example, where there is no underlying sense of honor, corruption prevents meritocracy no matter how much economic force arises to encourage it. Without investing real capital to suppress corruption, instead of creating efficiency, the pressure demanding better use of resources instead leads instead to pretense, greater waste, and ultimately failure.

As a less traditional example, he indicates the ease with which Americans will simply get into another person's car, and still feel safe, in a way that some Europeans would be scared to do, and many Central Americans would be objectively stupid to do. (It is not that the other American whose car you get into is actually less violent than his European or Central American counterpart, we have more crime that Europe, and less than Central America, to approximately equal degrees, and both of those cultures see this as equally weird. It is particularly American ethical quirk that we extend the expectation that one should be gracious in one's own home, to our automobiles.)

This creates an opportunity for an economy of low-oversight taxi service, and ultimately Uber...

The fact it creates the opportunity for efficiencies makes this a form of capital, in certain terms. Once it is lost, more genuine economic capital must be invested directly to offset the cultural drag that ethical assumptions used to counteract.

  • good answer, adding clarity. would've liked something on the situs tho! – user6917 Feb 19 '17 at 19:10
  • I don't understand. The 'situs'? Do you mean the second question: 'How is capitalism reproduced?' By definition capitalism is leverage via the ownership of the means of production -- but if the means of production depends, e.g. upon the moral environment and the ability for people to understand one another that makes religions and nationalities capitalist institutions providing maintenance of the means of production, at least to the extent the are 'owned' by a magisterium or a historical network of families of nation builders. – jobermark Feb 20 '17 at 18:35
  • uh sorry @jobermark, i meant the situationists? interesting marxists! – user6917 Feb 20 '17 at 19:13
  • Of course, Fukayama is entirely pro-capitalist, of the variant that admits our system does abuse our environment, social structures, our psychology and morality, etc., but imagines that if we could value all of those non-economic things in 'utils' of some variety, the result would be a rational market. – jobermark Feb 21 '17 at 23:40

Capital isn’t just a Marxist technical term for a complex relationship of people that is mediated by objects, it is also an every day word.

The technical sense of Capital in Marxism is always (in part) economic—value reproduces itself in an expanded form or is destroyed.

However, in Marxism concepts such as political capital as a store of wealth or human capital as if there’s a machine in someone’s CV don’t make sense. They’re metaphors based off uses of capital in general language, or unusual claims created in reference to capitals use as a term in non-Marxist economics.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy