Capital is a almost any kind of resource or asset that can be owned and put to economic use: money, property, tools, resources.
Classical economics defined capital and labour as the two main types of inputs in an economy, and much attention has been paid to issues of economic inequality regarding capital vs. labor and the balance of political power between the two.
In the late 20th century, the concept of capital was expanded and reassessed to examine the economic properties of different styles of capital, describing labour as a form of human capital. At the same time, sociology developed some deeper ways to describe Markets, Hierarchy and Trust. A more elaborated map soon emerged:
- natural capital - ecosystems viewed as capital assets
- financial capital - the conventional meaning as per finance
- infrastructural capital - the conventional meaning as per classical economics
- human capital - people
In addition other analyses of brand capital and life capital emerged, which were at a somewhat more abstract level than the strictly operational analysis above.
The treatment of capital according to generally approved accounting principles and the taxation of capital in the form of corporate tax, wealth tax, capital gains tax, or other means have been major recurring policy issues in all governments.