13 Forms of Capital

What is the story of capital? It divides us, while determining our value, and pushes us to exploit the earth and one another. We  are told a story that true value only resides in paper and coins, securities and stock, debit, credit, and numbers in an account; that gives us a false sense of security, a way to see ourselves as more or less than those around us.

Definition of Capital

  • Accumulated goods, accumulated possessions
  • Advantage
  • Gain
  • Assets
  • How else can we define capital? People have written tombs in attempts to define the phenomena

What about the other forms of capital? Other currencies to consider when agreeing to and creating value in addition to cash and credit. How can we transition gracefully from an extractionist and exploitative economy?

Financial

Traditionally the currency of state was created based on an agreed upon belief in the value of precious metals, shells and stones. When printed bills became widely spread they too were backed up by gold and silver. Now currency is backed up with commodities, natural resources and in some cases “good faith”. We have all agreed upon the value of goods and services based on state and globally decreed prices, a cash value, regardless of what it is backed up by.

Biological

In our current agreed upon system, we put a value on life, but maybe not the value life deserves. Biological capital in the current system treats animals, plants, land and people like they are machines in a factory. becoming objects of trade, aka commodities. The value, often subsidized with tax revenue, seems cheaper than they actually are.

Biological capital is also your body and wellbeing. It’s also your garden, humans on your team, the forests and prairies, the birds in the sky and fish in the sea.

Material

Stuff, stuff, and more stuff. Our lives are filled with material things, and that in some cases is ok, because we are materialized! Consider what you have, how you spend your other forms of capital to acquire things and what are the things  you want and have truly worth?

Consider your Stuff:

  • is it causing harm?
  • how long will it last?
  • it is following a trend or is it something that will stay classic?
  • will it hold a value and does it become an asset?

Experiential

Explore, participate, volunteer, work, DO! Always DO! Every moment and every experience molded who you are right now. Those experiences are valuable because they give you an embodied perspective, a weight of opinion, a physical hold on a concept. Review all the experiences you have had, from the mundane to the jaw dropping, aha’s. How do they enrich your life and the lives of others by what you have to share from them.

Intellectual

Humans have the beautiful gift of abstraction. We can imagine a future, we can write the past, we create the present with our thoughts. Reading and Active Listening are another one of our gifts, a way to exchange knowledge through centuries and leave legacies. A way to change the world. Accumulate knowledge through listening and reading those who have experience and have studied. Learn it, absorb it, spread it.

Informational

Access to information is the gift of modernity. Be judicious in what and how info is shared, much of the news is tailored to spread fear, disillusion and create a void between people. Be mindful of false information and gossip. Always go as close to the source as possible and ask questions, the smartest people are not afraid to ask “why” OR say “I don’t know”. There are three truths; mine, yours and somewhere in the middle

Emotional

How do you handle life? The ability to recognize our emotional state, awareness of the cyclic nature, triggers and the ability to face ourselves in the darkest time and celebrate ourselves in the lightest. Knowing when to ask for help, knowing who can help you. Also knowing when you can help yourself. We control our reactions, attitudes and how events affect us. no one creates your feelings but you.

Creative

Visual art is the craft of the eye, poetry the craft of the soul, music the craft of the spirit, dance the craft of the body. Creative process and its unique outcome is valuable in a mass produced world. Let the Muses move through, enliven and inspire you. And it’s ok, not everyone has the gift of exceptional creativity, but experiencing the creativity can enrich you in other ways.

Social

Your reputation is everything. Value your network and the people you can reach out to for advice, connections, mentoring, help, support and for good times. But don’t abuse your social worth, treating people with kindness and respect, being inclusive and non-competitive is the shift from the Power Over paradigm, to the Paradigm of Immanence and belonging.

Cultural

An intact culture is more valuable than a diluted, monoculture. Why do we visit certain places? For the food, language, style and attitude. Explore your perspective on culture and what it means to you. What culture do you identify with and how is your life enriched by it?

Spiritual

Your relationship with your divine tightens the fabric of your being. It diversifies the invisible tapestry that connects us all. Without judgement and without fear, nourish your spirit through ritual and ceremony, and reverence to what you hold as sacred.

Sexual

On the very basic level, sexual capital relates to the fertility of an individual subject in its ability to reproduce a healthy, vibrant member of the community. On the social level, sexual capital is based on one’s ability to leverage favor for financial exchange, goods, services and as we often see in many communities, popularity, leading to favoritism and reward, or power. We also see sexual capital being exploited through the liberation movements of the LGBTQ community.

Racial – Ethnic

By virtue of chance or perhaps fate, we are born with a physicality that we do not chose. The presentation of dominant and non dominant genes display wide variations specific to adaptation and evolution determined by environmental influences, these adaptations are called “races”, which are just genotypes of the same species, us, human beings. These color, shape and size variations have caused some of the greatest tragedies and divisions among human beings. such as enslavement and genocide. Lightness or darkness somehow signals abilities, restrictions and access to services and opportunities. Ethnicity are those large communities who share common racial, national, tribal, religious, linguistic, or cultural origins or background. Ethnicity also somehow determines access, ownership, capability and virtue.

Reflection Exercise:

In what ways do you participate in capital systems? Go through each and reflect upon your entitlement, access and privilege. Where do you feel like you have abundance, where do you feel scarcity? Have you had great abundance all along and not even known it?