To understand the theme of “Human Capital”, you must first delve deep into the title itself. Human capital as a concept refers to the knowledge and skills that a person possesses that make them an asset to a company or a country. We see the term play out at the awards dinner when Quint emphasizes how important it is for Jamie to win the trophy. Obtaining a distinction would increase their human capital, which is essential for high school students applying for university.
More than that, human capital takes center stage during the climax when it’s up to whether Ian will take the fall for the hit and run. Jamie comes from a well-to-do, well-to-do family. It is easy to imagine a scenario where he will get away with a few years of probation if he is charged with the crime. Ian does not have access to the same resources. His human capital is significantly lower and, as a result, he ends up facing the consequences of his actions and severe penalties for the crime.
Ultimately, we see a cascading effect of the impact of capitalism on different tax brackets. For the wealthy Mannings, their biggest concern in the face of the economic downturn is not being able to afford a theater. For Drew in the middle class, his risky investment threatens his livelihood, his home and his future children. Besides, Ian, who is the poorest of the bunch, has nowhere to turn when the walls close. He didn’t just lose a house; he lost his freedom after mixing with these two families. As “Human Capital” proves, misery is trickling down.