Human Resources?

People are valuable. That’s why they have an established status as human resources in organizations. When they are more valuable, they are even called assets.


“People are our greatest asset!” You’ve probably heard that a lot. If not, try “People are our * asset” in Google, and you’ll get over 300 million results. “Greatest” is sometimes replaced by “biggest”, “most important”, and “most valuable”. The results are mainly of two types. The first is people praising narratives, and that’s by far the bigger group. The second is criticism of the statement being hypocritical. Probably most of the authors of the first type are well-meaning and most of the second type have good reasons. But I find this aphorism neither people-praising nor hypocritical. I find it degrading and offensive.

Can we see people as assets? An asset is “anything tangible or intangible that is capable of being owned or controlled to produce value”. Continue reading