Substance and Semantics: The Question of Capital

14 Pages Posted: 3 Jun 2015 Last revised: 30 Jan 2018

Peter Lewin

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Management - Department of Finance & Managerial Economics

Nicolas Cachanosky

Metropolitan State University of Denver; American Institute for Economic Research

Date Written: January 29, 2018

Abstract

The perennial question ‘What is Capital’ has been getting some attention recently. Although the distinction between capital as a financial construct and capital as a collection of physical production-goods is well known, we argue that the former concept is undepreciated. The two concepts are often conflated in practice, and the relationship between them is seldom well understood. We spell out the financial concept of capital emphasizing its importance as an indispensable instrument of calculation and accounting. We consider some views of human, social and other capital and how we differ from them. We present reasons for rejecting the notion of an aggregate production function in standard growth theory (which uses the notion of an aggregate stock of physical capital) and as recently used by Thomas Piketty in his well-known work.

Keywords: Capital, Money, Finance, Ownership, Collateral, Alienability, Human capital, Social capital, Production-function

Suggested Citation

Lewin, Peter and Cachanosky, Nicolas, Substance and Semantics: The Question of Capital (January 29, 2018). Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, Forthcoming. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2613469 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2613469

Peter Lewin (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Dallas - School of Management - Department of Finance & Managerial Economics ( email )

2601 North Floyd Road
P.O. Box 830688
Richardson, TX 75083
United States

Nicolas Cachanosky

Metropolitan State University of Denver ( email )

Denver, CO 80217
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.ncachanosky.edu

American Institute for Economic Research

PO Box 1000
Great Barrington, MA 01230
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
199
rank
141,957
Abstract Views
1,041
PlumX