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On Colin Powell and Human Capital

We blogged a while back about how human capital can shift from one industry to others, especially when there’s a major shock to the economy or to social mores.

Here’s another interesting take on human capital, provided by the actor Jeffrey Wright in a brief New York magazine profile:

Wright, a precise and logical conversationalist, doesn’t just vaguely sympathize with the former secretary of state. He frames Powell as a squandered asset. “You know, when an F-16 crashes and a pilot is killed, you always hear about the cost of the training of the pilot and what a great loss it is,” he says. “Powell was a weapon that was developed over half a century, and millions of taxpayer dollars went into the formation of his abilities and his capacity. Then that investment was wasted. Just the capital costs — that’s reckless beyond measure.”

I used to know Wright a bit, and have always admired his work. But if he is not careful, he is going to shatter the stereotype about vain and brain-dead actors who don’t know what’s going on in the world and have nothing interesting to say about it.