All I can be sure of, really, is that capital == good, where capital can be loosely defined as everything that is anti-entropy. Because it is anti-entropy, by definition capital takes time and effort to accrue.
Valid forms of capital include:
- Economic: financial assets, investments, means to security and increased leverage
- Social: strength of relationships (specifically with high quality people), eligibility into social networks, trust
- Status: creation of [valid and self-important] self-narrative, material wealth symbols
- Skills: “external”, especially marketable (which includes all hard/technical training, but also negotiation, leadership, conflict management), and “internal” (resilience, creativity, ability to fail, ego depreciation, considering the arguments of others, being “interesting”)
- Health: fitness, mood, strength, anything which contributes to a healthy lifestyle and increased time alive, physical safety
- Autonomy: can be tied to economic capital, but is not always. Is NOT equivalent to lack of responsibility
And in the end, we can use and trade our capital for 1. other forms of capital (hopefully you’re good at negotiation), or 2: Pleasure: that which is great and enriching in moderation but is not enough to sustain you alone.
Nearly all (all?) of our day-to-day conversations revolve around the central question: how do I trade my capital?
- Do I take the job which pays more but may jeopardize my health (physical safety)?
- Should I eat out with my friends? Is it worth buying that car?
- Is it worth paying for this course or degree?
- Should I go to the gym? Should I eat the ice cream?
- How do I get more capital?
The list could literally go on forever.
The Government and Unions
It has always been the job of the government and unions to restrict the domain of such questions, especially for those less privileged, to minimize the abuse of power in zero-sum games.
For instance, properly imposed safety regulations should make it impossible to ask such questions as “Is it better for me to risk my life following the demands of my employer, or get fired and risk starving to death?”
Ethics and Morality
Practically, ethics and morality further restrict the rules of capital exchange. Even abstract problems, such as the trolley problem, can be viewed as a problem in allocating capital.
While these take the form of socially constructed laws, they also bleed into natural natural laws. To violate ethical/moral principles is to slash your own social capital in favour of [typically] economic capital or pleasure.
Because all forms of capital are highly interdependent, this strategy is high-risk and not advised for long term games.
Comparisons: there is no absolute
We all value certain capital more than other kinds of capital. This is what makes trade mutually beneficial.
There will always, without exception, be someone with more capital than you and with less capital than you (see the previous point).
The power of social pressure is predicated on the need for social capital.
There are certain really good moves in the game. What makes start-ups so alluring?
Ideally, they provide you with a high-status and high-paying job which interests you (pleasure) and leave you surrounded with a strong team you enjoy being a part of, all while having autonomy around your success. Though high risk, it is a means for growing your capital multi-dimensionally.