Economic capital

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Under economic capital understands Pierre Bourdieu possession of any kind of goods , such as companies , means of production , land and other assets such as cash , stocks , jewelry or art .

"The economic capital can be converted directly into money and is particularly suitable for institutionalization in the form of property rights ..."

The Bourdieuian concept of capital is derived from Karl Marx , but in relation to economic capital, it is not equivalent to its characterization. Bourdieu uses in his empirical studies as an indicator for economic capital z. B. Homeownership, boat ownership, average income, etc. a. Accordingly, he does not consider labor power to be part of "economic capital". The idea that Bourdieu would take over from Marx the concept of capital as “economic” capital and supplement it with other types of capital is wrong. Work can be converted into money in a certain way, but not “immediately” and “directly”. The term economic capital must therefore be understood along the lines of everyday usage of the word “capital”, which means above all money and, for Bourdieu, goods. So every person has economic capital. The extent, however, depends on the person belonging to a social class . In capitalism, according to Bourdieu, economic capital is particularly important.

The four terms used by Bourdieu (see below) cannot always be strictly separated from one another. For example, the possession of a picture by Picasso counts as both “economic capital” and “cultural capital”.

For a further understanding see the remaining types of capital postulated by Bourdieu:


  1. Bourdieu, Pierre: Economic capital, cultural capital, social capital. In: Reinhard Kreckel (ed.): Social inequality . Göttingen: Schwartz 1983. pp. 183–198, here p. 185.