A standard approach in labour economics is to view human capital as a set of skills and characteristics which are important to the efficiency of the firm and are useful in the production process. Although different interpretations of human capital naturally exist, workers can be modelled as agents that hold the capacity to graft, obey orders and take their place in the hierarchy of the firm.
An interesting case arose last weekend in the English Premier League which showcased how the workforce must toe the line. In the era of player power it was refreshing to see Liverpool prevent Daniel Sturridge from wearing a hat that marketed his own brand. I’m sure New Balance, the manufacturer of Liverpool’s kits, had an issue with Sturridge’s brand building exercise.
With the exception of a few footballers, such as David Beckham, Cristiano Ronaldo, David Ginola, Eric Cantona and Vinny Jones (and probably a few more) it can be hard for players to build a distinct and successful brand based on their image. This episode with Mr. Sturridge's apparel might remind fans that the players are after all only one cog in the wheel, albeit a critical one. And while much emphasis is placed on human capital in football clubs in the short run, the players are ultimately transient – in ten years’ time I'm sure Sturridge and the current crop of Liverpool stars will only be a memory, the firm no doubt will live on.