The Institute for Human Capitalism



"I am certain that after the dust of centuries has passed over our cities, we, too, will be remembered not for victories or defeats in battle or in politics, but for our contribution to the human spirit."

- John F. Kennedy

"We are part of the whole which we call the universe, but it is an optical delusion of our mind that we think we are separate. This separateness is like a prison for us. Our job is to widen the circle of our compassion so we feel connected with all people and situations."

- Albert Einstein

"In times of crisis, people reach for meaning. Meaning is strength. Our survival may depend on our seeking and finding it."

- Victor Frankl

" a world in which your competitors can copy everything you do, ...all that separates you from (them) are the skills, knowledge, commitment and abilities of the people who work for you..... Companies that manage people right will outperform companies that don't by 30% to 40%."

- Jeffrey Pfeffer, author of
The Human Equation: Building Profits by Putting People First

Companies have two dimensions, both of which are key to its success:

Material             Human
 Economics          Economics

The Material Economics side is well developed with sophisticated management processes. It's about financial and physical capital, shareholder value, products, processes, cost control, return on investment and economic value added. In the material economics arena, the human ingredient is merely a cost-based resource.

The Human Economics side is in its infancy, with practices only just being developed. It's about human capital, individual and corporate purpose, human relationships, collaboration, creativity and innovation.

Most companies live on the material economics side and do not yet fully appreciate or utilize the human economics side. Often problems that pop up on the material economics side (e.g., declining profit margins) cannot be solved on that side, but rather need to be addressed on the Human Economics side.

Leaders must manage both the material economics and the human economics of their companies to achieve superior performance.

Exploring Human Economics

Human Economics puts the whole human being at the center of the work organization, recognizing its role in fueling organizational success and societal development. Human Economics, at its core, is the science of moving people along their own authentic developmental path, and in the process moving the work organization, and ultimately humanity along its evolutionary path.

The Institute addresses three equally important — and interdependent — dimensions of Human Economics:

  • The Individual – Self Actualization of the Whole Person

  • The Work Organization – Inspirited Leadership of Sustainable Peak Performance

  • Society – Economics for the Common Good

Here's how Human Economics addresses each of these three dimensions:


"Now, at the dawn of the new millennium, it is necessary to address such postmodern concerns as the struggle for self-realization, the desire to find a deeper meaning in life than the endless accumulation of consumer durables and the pursuit of pleasure,…."

- Robert Fogel,
recipient of the 1993 Nobel Prize in
Economics and author of
The Fourth Great Awakening and
the Future of Egalitarianism
, 2000

"What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us."

- Ralph Waldo Emerson


"Look at every path closely and deliberately. Try it as many times as you think necessary. Then ask yourself, and yourself alone, one question…..Does this path have a heart? If it does, the path is good; if it doesn't, it is of no use."

- Carlos Casteneda,
The Teachings of Don Juan, 1969

The Individual
The New Work Ethic:
Self Actualization of the Whole Person

Human Economics is about personal growth and development, through the full expression of individual talents and passions. This self-actualization happens in work places where individual participants bring all of themselves to work, not just a set of skills. This whole person includes...

  • The Mind and its manifestation in Knowledge and Intellectual Capital, but also...

  • The Human Spirit and its manifestation in Passion, Creativity, Community, Free Will and Responsibility.

This whole person seeks to fully express and put to use his/her authentic self — for personal gain and growth, but also to serve larger goals and a higher good.

In a company utilizing principles of Human Economics, work becomes an activity of full authentic expression.


"Both physical and human capital must be cared for and replaced. That is even more difficult and costly for human than for physical capital - a major reason why the return to human capital has risen so much more rapidly than the return to physical capital."

- Milton Friedman,
1993 Nobel Prize recipient in
Economics and author of
Free to Choose, 1981

"I've tried to create a culture of caring for people in the totality of their lives, not just at work. …. The intangibles are more important than the tangibles. Someone can go out and buy airplanes from Boeing and ticket counters, but they can't buy our culture, our esprit de corps."

- Herb Kelleher, CEO,
Southwest Airlines

"A tribe including many members who, from possessing in high degree the spirit of patriotism, fidelity, obedience, courage and sympathy, were always ready to aid one another, and to sacrifice themselves for the common good, would be victorious over most other tribes; and this would be natural selection."

- Charles Darwin, author of
The Descent of Man, 1871

The Work Organization
The Energized Enterprise™ and
Sustainable Peak Performance

Human Economics is also about shaping and guiding the interaction of all participants in the work organization, so that the collective result of all these individual contributions is optimum organizational performance.

In this context, the organization goes beyond merely employees, and includes all people involved in the company's success – e.g., suppliers, customers and strategic partners in an interrelational Business-to-Business web.

At this level, application of Human Economics principles energizes the whole organization by uniting people under a common purpose to work collaboratively in mutual respect.

Human Economics goes beyond material economics' focus on material assets and transactions. It addresses the human relationships that make up the company. These relationships and the human energy that flows through them are the essence of the organization, the foundation of the fully energized organization, and the true source of competitive advantage.

"If capitalism is to work in the long run, it must make investments that are not in any particular individual's immediate self-interest but are in the human community's long-run self-interest."

- Lester Thurow,
Professor of Economics and
Management, MIT, and author of
The Future of Capitalism, 1996

"If you want to be successful in the 21st century (as a country), you must find your path to Democracy, market economics and a system which frees the talents of men and women to pursue their individual destinies."

- Colin Powell, US Secretary of State

"Material development means nothing to a nation as an end in itself. If America is to stand simply for the accumulation of what tells for comfort and luxury, then it will stand for little indeed when looked at through the vistas of the ages." Only if America treat(s) material abundance "as the foundation on which to build the real life, the life of spiritual and moral effort and achievement," (will) it stand for something worth remembering. "Material well-being is a great good, but it is a great good chiefly as a means for the upbuilding upon it of a high and fine type of character, private and public."

- Teddy Roosevelt as quoted in
Michael Sandel's 1996 book
Democracy's Discontent

Economics for the
Common Good

Finally, Human Economics is also about the evolution of a society in which individuals, operating freely to express fully their authentic selves, together with work organizations that seek to empower people around the highest purpose, help generate societal advances.

Companies that put Human Economics principles into action become vehicles not only for individual growth and corporate success, but also for service to the greater societal good.

Human Economics augments Adam Smith's "Invisible Hand" with an equally powerful mechanism for societal benefit – that of an inherent desire within individuals to serve society as well as themselves individually and their company.

©2000-2012 Darwin Gillett.  All Rights Reserved.