Integrated Studies

Providing the basic needs of an individual is very important to human existence. This kind of adage is also an equally essential motivating factor that drives people to further explore their horizon in order to enhance the ways that will better address the needs as well as the desire of the human population. In relation to this, the people or the human capital plays a primary and vital role in the development of the means, which will help them maximize the resources that they have in order to produce more goods that they will consume and derive other benefits from it. In addition, human capital also substantially contribute to the success of nations wherein the abilities, skills, talents, etc. are also important, especially when it comes to labor production that further help people in getting their needs and attaining their wants. Being the case, it is necessary that these concepts are further explored and analyzed in order to clearly understand its importance to the economy and to the society as a whole. In doing so, two articles will be discussed in the succeeding paragraphs, which will further explain the essence of human capital and the division of labor.

In the article written by Henry Hazlitt entitled The Curse of Machinery, he discussed and debunk the idea that the invention and development of machineries pose a threat to human capital because of the belief that machines are replacing human employees, which is the root cause of unemployment. However, Hazlitt argues and emphasizes that the development of machinery might indeed caused the unemployment in a short term perspective but in the long run the development of these machineries could actually create more jobs and also give other advantageous effect to the economy and society. The author elaborates his argument by using the manufacturer of an overcoat as an example. He explains that while the owner might need to layoff some employees because of the machinery that was bought, in the long run, the additional income that would be incurred for the efficiency of production could be use to hire more employees either in the overcoat factory or by expanding the owners investment in other fields that will also require additional employment. In relation to this, it is also important to note that laborers are also the one responsible in the creation of these machineries, which means that an increase in the demand for it also entails additional job opportunities. Moreover, critics of the development of machineries should become more aware that not all machineries are created in order to increase the laborers that perform a certain task but rather most machines are invented to make tasks easier and more efficient. As a result, the creation of more products and services give people more opportunity to avail their needs at a more affordable price. Being the case, as Hazlitt puts it, the real result of the machine is to increase production, to raise standard of living, to increase economic welfare.

Furthermore, the author also discusses the idea of human capital in relation with the invention of machineries. The development of machineries might indeed affect the jobs of some employees in the short term perspective but it also motivates people to further increase their skills and abilities. In order to actively participate in an economy that largely uses machineries, people should invest more in improving their educational background  by means of taking further studies as well as other related experiences, which will help them find better jobs. In investing in the improvement of ones human capital would indeed incur cost but this is relatively smaller as compared to the benefits that they would gain from it like better salary and successful career path.

In the second article that is written by Marshall Sahlins entitled The Original Affluent Society, he asserts that the hunter-gatherers were the original affluent society because their practices illustrate a refined mode of subsistence, which modern generations could learn a lot from. Sahlins explains that people should shift away from the anthropological thought of viewing hunter-gatherers as primitive but rather a society which could easily satisfy their needs. The main basis of Sahlins argument is grounded on his assertion that the hunter-gatherer societies were able to achieve affluence because these people only have minimal needs and desires that could be address by the resources that are available to them, which he refers to as the Zen road to affluence. On the other hand, the hunter-gatherers to the western way towards affluence wherein the latter have more desires but only limited means, which he called as the Galbraithean way. In line with this, Sahlins argues that by veering away from the western notions of affluence, the ways of the hunter-gatherers could actually be regarded as abundant, especially when it comes to the various diets and abundance that they experience.

The way to affluence of the hunter-gatherers also give due importance to the concept of labor productivity because they were able to maximize the resources that they have in order to provide for their needs and desires. The hunter-gatherers were able to practice the division of labor that is observable in the respective tasks of male and female in this society. The male were in charge of hunting while the female were responsible for gathering edible plants and fruits. In this kind of scenario, the hunter-gatherers were able to maximize the resources that are available in order for them to sustain their needs. Similarly, the ways of the hunter-gatherers are similar with the concept of horticulture wherein the people use the resources in their environment only to satisfy their needs and not to make any surpluses. This clearly exemplifies the idea that ends of these hunter-gatherers coincide with the means that they have.

The two articles that were discussed above have its respective similarity and difference. Both articles were able to point out the importance of human capital and labor productivity that gives due importance to people as the primary actors in the development of the economy and the society. Hazliit explains that it is through the investment of human capital that the invention and further development of machineries becomes possible. In the same manner, Sahlins also states that hunter-gatherers were able to properly manage their resources through the division of labor that they have used in their society. However, Hazliit and Sahlins have different perspectives when it comes to the standard of living or lifestyle of the people. According to Hazliit, the development of machineries helps in improving the standard of living of people because they could be able to produce and avail more goods through the invention of machines. On the other hand, Sahlins comments on the lifestyle of the west wherein people have greater wants but only limited resources in order to fulfill it. In addition, the production of more goods, especial the existence of surpluses is not limiting the greater desires of people but it is surely contributing to the further decrease of finite resources.

Furthermore, the development of societies has an effect in the further development of machineries. In the case of the hunter-gatherers, they only use bow and arrow because it was the only tool that they need during that time. However, as time progress the horticultural society also started to become more complex. People no longer use their resources for the mere satisfaction of their needs but rather they also use to produce more in order to earn other benefits like monetary means for other desires. This is exemplified in the emergence of pastoral and agricultural societies, which involves other means of using and gaining from natural resources. In connection to this, as the society becomes more complex, different machineries are also developed that aim to enhance the productivity of the people when it comes to producing goods. In this sense, the development of the society is directly proportional to invention of various machineries that help people in making their respective tasks easier.

The concepts of human capital and labor productivity are indeed pivotal in the economy as well as in the society as a whole. These concepts are necessary in order to understand the contribution of people to the economy as well as the dynamics of their relationship with natural resources and other means of production.


Отправить комментарий