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The Death of Human Capital?Its Failed Promise and How to Renew It in an Age of Disruption$
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Phillip Brown, Hugh Lauder, and Sin Yi Cheung

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780190644307

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190644307.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 December 2021

Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

(p.67) 5 Winners and Losers
The Death of Human Capital?

Phillip Brown

Oxford University Press

This chapter asks who wins and who loses in the distribution of credentials, jobs, and wages. Orthodox theorists argue that human capital is the most important form of capital in modern economies, so by investing in education individuals can earn the returns on their rising productivity. This led to the view that knowledge workers would be the key beneficiaries of today’s economy, as they would supersede traditional capitalists as wealth creators. This chapter presents evidence of who have been the real winners and losers in Becker’s “age of human capital.” It shows how rates of return reflect social inequalities in class, gender, and ethnicity. This analysis challenges three key tenets of orthodox theory.

Keywords:   modern economies, productivity, educated workers, social inequality, class, gender, ethnicity

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