What is Capital?

What Does Capital Mean

The term capital comes from the Latin capitālis . The concept of capital has different meanings, depending on the context and the discipline that is used.



In economics , the term capital is referred to as value . At first it was used as a synonym for money. As this money is invested, it becomes one of the factors in the production process, just like the labor force and the land.

Some examples of capital in the production process could be materials, machinery, computers , raw materials , real estate , among others. In turn, capital is used to access the workforce.

Other authors prefer to define capital as the total of the assets or property, whether state, private, industrial, etc . It fulfills the function of producing new wealth or profits , either through investment or loan.

There are different ways of accessing capital, one of the means is through surplus production, another is thanks to work done on the natural environment, for example the exploitation of forests or lakes. Another means of access is thanks to savings and from the conception of Marx from the surplus value .

Many times when the concept of capital is used it is to refer to one of the works of the mentioned thinker, Karl Marx . The treatise Capital , is a critique of political economy. In it, the relationships between the social classes that Marx defines, such as the proletariat and the bourgeoisie, are defined . In turn, it explains how the second acts in a dominant way over the first. This book has been elementary to understand the functioning of the capitalist system . It is also studied not only from economics, but also by political scientists, philosophers, sociologists, etc.

Authors such as Pierre Bourdieu affirm that capital exceeds the material, that is, money and goods, which he calls symbolic and cultural capital. This term includes values ​​such as generosity, honesty and, above all, the knowledge acquired.

The way to access this capital is diverse. In some cases it may be through experience and in other cases it is acquired through institutions, for example educational. This capital is used as a means of power to be able to conserve and increase the capital itself .

See also: Capitalism

Other types of capital

Capitals are usually cities that have a larger population.

From the physical and political point of view, it is understood that a capital is the head and main city of either a national or a provincial state . Normally these cities are characterized by being the economic and political centers of these states. In turn, they are usually the cities with the largest population . Capitals are often used as one of the symbols and constituted elements of nations.

In the Catholic Church the concept of capital is related to the seven deadly sins . These are understood as sins that give rise to others. These seven are: gluttony, greed, lust, pride, anger, laziness and envy. From Catholicism it is understood that these vices are totally contrary to the morals and teachings of Christianity, that is why it openly repudiates them.

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