Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Definitions of Capitalization

What is very telling in American society is that we tend to think of "capitalizing" as not to take advantage of a resource, but rather to promote corporate, or American ideals and health.  This may be a mental justification of our system.  Our closest national relatives, the British people, began the capitalistic endeavors (which we have perfected) with Dutch ideas of business, capitalizing on resources such as slaves, tea, and rice... still, they do not focus on a definition of "capitalize" as anything else but what it is... "to take advantage."  Below is what an English dictionary entry for the word, "capitalize" says. This is followed by an American entry that is fairly common in most American dictionaries, including the Random House one on my desk now.  You can tell by the simple variation how we Americans rank the "to take advantage" definition of the term.


capitalize, capitalise [ˈkæpɪtəˌlaɪz]
vb (mainly tr)
1. (intr; foll by on) to take advantage (of); profit (by)
2. (Communication Arts / Printing, Lithography & Bookbinding) to write or print (text) in capital letters or with the first letter of (a word or words) in capital letters
3. (Economics, Accounting & Finance / Accounting & Book-keeping) to convert (debt or retained earnings) into capital stock
4. (Economics, Accounting & Finance / Accounting & Book-keeping) to authorize (a business enterprise) to issue a specified amount of capital stock
5. (Economics, Accounting & Finance / Banking & Finance) to provide with capital
6. (Economics, Accounting & Finance / Accounting & Book-keeping) Accounting to treat (expenditures) as assets
7. (Economics, Accounting & Finance / Accounting & Book-keeping)
a.  to estimate the present value of (a periodical income)
b.  to compute the present value of (a business) from actual or potential earnings

Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003

And now, the American view:

cap·i·tal·ize (kp-tl-z)
v. cap·i·tal·ized, cap·i·tal·iz·ing, cap·i·tal·iz·es
v.tr.
1. To use as or convert into capital.
2. To supply with capital or investment funds: capitalize a new business.
3. To authorize the issue of a certain amount of capital stock of: capitalize a corporation.
4. To convert (debt) into capital stock or shares.
5. To calculate the current value of (a future stream of earnings or cash flows).
6. To include (expenditures) in business accounts as assets instead of expenses.
7.
a. To write or print in capital letters.
b. To begin a word with a capital letter.
v.intr.
To turn something to one's advantage; benefit: capitalize on an opponent's error. See Synonyms at benefit.

At least my Random House dictionary puts "to take advantage" as number six!  When I read a book on Tobacco business in early America that gave "debt to England" as one source of the American Revolution, I had to think about this.  The American Revolution erased our debts to England, for the most part.  After that, we had the freedom to "take advantage" as much as possible.  It became our ultimate creed, our "Manifest Destiny" to conquer the whole continent.  I don't know about you, but this was a hard pill to swallow.  

Education and religion are two areas where capitalization should not occur.  I know of few people who would dispute this.  But, commercialism has invaded our schools and churches and what was once the public sector has now gone private... again, capitalization of every available resource.  


The definitions that we have outlined for ourselves - the very essence of the idea - has been redefined to avoid the guilt that many of us still feel for what has gone in the past... the African and the Indian are only the most visible today.  What remains not-so-visible is what may eventually spell the end of what we know.  Change it now.  


A joke that I once heard states "Politics is merely the modern tool of the advantage-seeking capitalist that replaced the large, heavy bones wielded by their predecessors..."

I don't laugh at it anymore.  I'd like to do as my poor, yet wise and loving Grandma taught me instead... love thy neighbor.   She did and she was truly a happy woman.  Like I said... she was wise!

Update:  wikipedia definitions concur:

Verb [UK]
to capitalise (third-person singular simple present capitalises, present participle capitalising, simple past and past participle capitalised)
  1. (followed by on) To seize, as an opportunity; to obtain a benefit.
    The home team appeared to have the advantage throughout the game, and finally capitalised on their opponents' weakness with just two minutes remaining, scoring several points in quick succession.
  2. (writing, editing) to make use of capital letters (a.k.a. upper case).
    In English, proper nouns should always be capitalised.
  3. (business) to have, contribute or acquire capital (money or other resources) for a business.
    Some states require proof that a new venture is properly capitalised before the state will issue a certificate of incorporation.
  4. (finance) to convert into capital, ie to get cash or similar immediately fungible resources for some less fungible property or source of future income.
    If we obtain a loan using the business as collateral, the effect will be to capitalise our next ten years of income, giving us cash today that we can use to buy out our competitor.
  5. (accounting, taxation) to treat as capital, not as an expense. (This has implications for when deductions may be taken, at least under US law.)
  6. (intransitive): To profit or to obtain an advantage.
    The home team took several shots on goal but was unable to capitalise until late in the game.


Verb [US]
to capitalize (third-person singular simple present capitalizes, present participle capitalizing, simple past and past participle capitalized)
  1. (transitive) In writing or editing, to write in capital letters, in upper case, either the entire word or text, or just the initial letter(s) thereof.
    In English, proper nouns should always be capitalized.
  2. (transitive, business, finance) To contribute or acquire capital (money or other resources) for.
    Some states require proof that a new venture is properly capitalized before the state will issue a certificate of incorporation.
  3. (transitive, finance) To convert into capital, ie to get cash or similar immediately fungible resources for some less fungible property or source of future income.
    If we obtain a loan using the business as collateral, the effect will be to capitalize our next ten years of income, giving us cash today that we can use to buy out our competitor.
  4. (transitive, accounting, taxation) To treat as capital, not as an expense.
  5. (intransitive) To profit or to obtain an advantage.
    The home team took several shots on goal but was unable to capitalize until late in the game.
  6. (intransitive, followed by on) To seize, as an opportunity; to obtain a benefit.
    The home team appeared to have the advantage throughout the game, and finally capitalized on their opponents' weakness with just two minutes remaining, scoring several points in quick succession.


1 comment:

俊陳凱俊陳凱俊陳凱 said...

在你一無所有的時候 是誰在陪伴你 他便是你最重要的人......................................................................