Vague Hopes, Active Aspirations and Equality

The term human capital describes a set of skills, strengths and know-how that are valuable—both in the narrow sense of being “commercially valuable” (Lindsey, 2013), and the wider one of contributing to a flourishing, deliberate, purposeful life.

As Heckman (2014) puts it: “Skills are capacities to act [emphasis added]…They shape expectations, constraints, and information” (p. 6). The skills—capacities to act, in Heckman’s terms—making up an individual’s stock of human capital are typically divided into two sets:

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