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Literacy Work in the Reign of Human Capital$
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Evan Watkins

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780823264223

Published to Fordham Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.5422/fordham/9780823264223.001.0001

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Capitalizing on Autonomy

Capitalizing on Autonomy

(p.33) Chapter 1 Capitalizing on Autonomy
Literacy Work in the Reign of Human Capital

Evan Watkins

Fordham University Press

This chapter examines Yochai Benkler's notion of individual autonomy and compares it to Gary Becker's model of human capital. In particular, it juxtaposes Becker's “mindset 1” industrial investor in human capital to Benkler's Internet junkie networking the way to a common future. It first considers Adam Smith's argument, laid down in The Wealth of Nations, that Becker will reaffirm in his book Human Capital: A Theoretical and Empirical Analysis: that what “distinguishes human from other kinds of capital is that, by definition, the former is embedded or embodied in the person investing.” The chapter then discusses Benkler's concept of human communicative capacity in The Wealth of Networks: How Social Production Transforms Markets and Freedom in relation to Deborah Brandt's account of literacy. Finally, it explains how the principles of individual autonomy espoused by Benkler have become central to the transformation of his concept of human capital into just-in-time human capital.

Keywords:   just-in-time human capital, Yochai Benkler, individual autonomy, Gary Becker, human capital, Internet, investing, human communicative capacity, Deborah Brandt, literacy

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