America squanders its human capital

by: Susan Ochshorn

August 5, 2013

My family’s newest member popped into the world with this year’s crocuses, just in time for UNICEF‘s report card on child well-being.  Unbeknownst to our bundle of joy, the country of his birth was down at the bottom of the list of 29 nations, with Latvia, Lithuania and Romania. By the time he had been on Earth a month, the Academic Pediatric Assn. had released its strategic road map, proclaiming poverty the “greatest problem for children in the U.S.” In June, as he moved into Week 12 of newborn life, the Clintons declared all the nation’s kids “Too Small to Fail.”

Thus my grandson was ushered into America’s garden of human capital.

Economists have been talking about human capital — skills, creativity, enterprise — since the 17th century, when a man named William Petty, a forerunner of Adam Smith, made one of the first attempts to estimate the monetary value of a human being.

Read the article