Investing in People

I am pleased to report that this week John Wiley released “The Economics of Human Systems Integration: Valuation of Investments in People’s Training and Education, Safety and Health, and Work Productivity.”  I edited this book with contributions from many economists, systems engineers, and behavioral and social scientists.  The overarching question that motivated this book was, “Can we attach economic value to investing in people?”

Given that the book was published, the obvious answer is, “Yes.”  However, there are many subtleties.  Most notably, the economic case for investment is most easily made when the organization making the investment is also the organization that receives the returns on the investment.  The case studies in this book illustrate this conclusion very clearly.  We know how to develop the economic models, collect the requisite data, and compute the value of these types of investments.

However, many important investment problems do not fit this template.  Education and healthcare are two significant examples.  The returns on these investments pay off many years after the investments, with returns that seldom directly accrue to the original investors – except, of course, for the educated person enjoying good health.  The investors – often, community, state, and federal governments – do not directly gain returns.  Further, the people making the original investment decisions are usually long gone when the returns emerge.

We used to think of these returns as “public goods.”  The idea is that we are all better off if everyone is educated and healthy.  Such people, it is argued, will be productive and creative, yielding contributions to society for everyone’s benefit..  In the small New England town where I grew up, it seems to me this argument was never questioned.  However, this argument is not as widely accepted as it used to be.

Contemporary thinking seems to be that education and healthcare represent costs that need to be contained or, better yet, reduced.  Monies spent are seen as the operating costs of government, not as investments.  Such expenditures are seen as analogous to paying utility bills rather than putting monies into the social equivalent of a 401(k).  In this way, education and healthcare are being treated as “private goods” – if you want it, you should pay for it.  It is just a consumable like entertainment or sports.

Unfortunately, this is not a useful philosophy upon which to build a healthy, educated, and productive population that is competitive in the global marketplace.  This is especially true when we compare our philosophy to that of other countries that are making these types of investments and still consider the returns to be public goods.  We need to pay attention to the possibilities that these countries entertain and pursue.

62 Comments

  1. Well that certianly is one way to think about it

  2. Along with thanks for this unique content, I will most likely attach this particular site to my very own rss feeds, a buddy essentially educated me with this a couple weeks ago. here is the greatest

  3. Great Post, Very Enjoyable Read. I have subscribed and look forward to being updated :)

  4. you just gave me a topic to write on my report

  5. your site always has the best information

  6. thanks sooooooooo much!

  7. Zita Dentel says:

    Sunsilk Reviews = the best ^_^

  8. It’s a pity you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly donate to this outstanding blog! I guess for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS feed to my Google account. I look forward to brand new updates and will talk about this website with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  9. I am often blogging and i really appreciate your content. The article has really peaked my interest. I am going to bookmark your site and keep checking for new information.

  10. I simply say what a aid to search out someone who really is aware of what theyre speaking about on the internet. You definitely know easy methods to convey an issue to mild and make it important. More folks have to read this and understand this side of the story. I cant believe youre no more common because you positively have the gift. King Regards Steve

  11. gotta say this is a very usefull website

  12. Omar Yasseen says:

    maybe it’s me but it seems like the site layout is a bit half off the page. it might be my browser though. anyway interesting site. thank you Omar Yasseen

  13. langlang33 says:

    Spot on with this write-up, I truly think this website needs much much more consideration. I???篓篓??篓篓?-ll probably be once more to read much more, thanks for that info.

  14. Rob says:

    I loved as much as you’ll receive carried out right here. The sketch is tasteful, your authored subject matter stylish. nonetheless, you command get bought an shakiness over that you wish be delivering the following. unwell unquestionably come more formerly again since exactly the same nearly a lot often inside case you shield this hike.

  15. Foxy Proxy says:

    It’s true that firms scaled back the corporate excesses, like fancy retreats and private jets, for which they were vilified as a brutal recession gripped the country. Many of those constraints remain in place, like flying commercial on business trips, or more limited private car service for employees.

  16. I agree with what is said here. But I think its hard to lose weight and get fit because it means you have to change the way you eat and its hard to exercise regularly

  17. mafia wars says:

    I really appreciate this post. I have been looking everywhere for this! Thank goodness I found it on Bing. You’ve made my day! Thx again! “All that is gold does not glitter not all those that wander are lost.” by J. R. R. Tolkien.

  18. My-Wanted says:

    Thank you for this excellent post. I have read it and everything in the post is so brilliantly create. Most of that time it’s important to search and research several posts make any concise explaination the posts on the net but it is put very nicely

  19. I love your blog.. very nice colors & theme. Did you make this website yourself or did you hire someone to do it for you? Plz reply as I’m looking to create my own blog and would like to find out where u got this from. cheers.

  20. I definitely wanted to post a quick remark so as to thank you for the fabulous guides you are placing at this website. My time consuming internet investigation has at the end been recognized with good tips to go over with my contacts. I ‘d assert that many of us website visitors actually are undoubtedly endowed to be in a fine website with many wonderful individuals with interesting points. I feel pretty blessed to have seen your weblog and look forward to many more pleasurable moments reading here. Thanks again for a lot of things.

  21. Terry says:

    I like your article, but what do you think about communism then?

  22. So good info. does not have I for a long time no more read genuinly well your blog further so

  23. acne shampoo says:

    Thank you for this excellent post. I have read it and everything in the post is so brilliantly create. Most of that time it’s important to search and research several posts make any concise explaination the posts on the net but it is put very nicely

  24. Totally, it took me roughly 30 minutes to find this awesome post. Thank you very much.

  25. After I read a few of the posts on your website now, and I truly like your way of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website list and will be checking back soon. Pls check out my site too and tell me what you think.

  26. Spot on with this write-up, I really assume this website needs far more consideration. I’ll in all probability be again to read far more, thanks for that info.

  27. Bonjour, Merci d’ avoir posté cet article !!

  28. Excellent goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you are just too great. I really like what you’ve acquired here, certainly like what you are stating and the way in which you say it. You make it entertaining and you still care for to keep it smart. I can’t wait to read much more from you.

  29. Many thanks for the article, it was interesting and compelling. I discovered my way here through Google, I’ll return one more time :)

  30. Alyse Bride says:

    An interesting discussion is price comment. I think that you need to write extra on this matter, it might not be a taboo topic however generally individuals are not sufficient to talk on such topics. To the next. Cheers

  31. Hola, where can i find more posts like this on the web blog?

  32. Abel Tamiya says:

    Pretty! This was a genuinely wonderful post. Thank you for your provided information. cool desktop

  33. An incredibly nice blog you have got here. You really love your typing style and it’s very informative posts, I shall return here again!

  34. An extremely nice blog you have got here. I am keen your typing style and it’s very informative posts, I’ll get back here again!

  35. I must express thanks to this writer for bailing me out of this incident. Because of browsing through the internet and finding ways that were not pleasant, I figured my life was gone. Existing minus the solutions to the difficulties you have sorted out through your main report is a crucial case, as well as ones which could have in a negative way affected my entire career if I hadn’t come across your website. The mastery and kindness in dealing with a lot of things was priceless. I don’t know what I would’ve done if I had not discovered such a solution like this. It’s possible to at this point look ahead to my future. Thanks a lot so much for this skilled and results-oriented guide. I will not think twice to recommend the sites to any individual who desires guidelines on this subject.

  36. Do you mind if I quote a few of your posts as long as I provide credit and sources back to your website? My blog is in the very same area of interest as yours and my users would definitely benefit from some of the information you present here. Please let me know if this alright with you. Cheers!

  37. With havin so much content and articles do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or copyright violation? My site has a lot of unique content I’ve either created myself or outsourced but it looks like a lot of it is popping it up all over the web without my authorization. Do you know any ways to help protect against content from being stolen? I’d certainly appreciate it.

  38. U certainly put a new slant on an issue thats been talked about for ages. Great stuff, just great!

  39. Quite nice design and style and fantastic subject matter, really small else we want : D.

  40. This is really fascinating, You are a very skilled blogger. I’ve joined your feed and sit up for searching for more of your fantastic post. Also, I have shared your site in my social networks

  41. Youre so cool! I dont suppose Ive learn anything like this before. So nice to search out somebody with some unique thoughts on this subject. realy thanks for starting this up. this web site is something that’s needed on the internet, someone with a little originality. useful job for bringing one thing new to the web!

  42. Most of the fake comments seem to say the same things about your writing. Do you think they are using some kind of comment service to leave comments or do they just lack imagination?

  43. Jens roadsen says:

    Its like you learn my mind! You seem to understand a lot about this, like you wrote the e-book in it or something. I believe that you just can do with some % to power the message house a bit, however other than that, that is excellent blog. An excellent read. I will definitely be back.

  44. Shizuko Kody says:

    Oh my goodness! a tremendous article dude. Thanks Nonetheless I’m experiencing challenge with ur rss . Don’t know why Unable to subscribe to it. Is there anyone getting equivalent rss downside? Anyone who is aware of kindly respond. Thnkx

  45. I ‘m very enjoyed for this particular weblog. Its an informative topic. It help me very much to solve some problems. Its opportunity are usually so fantastic and working style so speedy. I think it may be help all of you. Thank you.

  46. Thanks says:

    You just copied an individual else’s tale

  47. An impressive share, I just given this onto a colleague who was doing a bit analysis on this. And he in actual fact bought me breakfast as a result of I discovered it for him.. smile. So let me reword that: Thnx for the treat! But yeah Thnkx for spending the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love reading extra on this topic. If possible, as you turn into expertise, would you thoughts updating your blog with extra particulars? It is highly useful for me. Big thumb up for this weblog submit!

Leave a Reply