Most of us would find this conceptualisation of capital more or less recognisable: 'The language of the market-place commonly regards a man's capital as that part of his wealth which he devotes to acquiring an income in the form of money; or, more generally, to acquisition by means of trade .' 3 Any definition that is so 'firmly established in ordinary usage" has much to recommend itself to the economist, particularly if he wishes to have any influence at all on the wider community beyond the cloister and the quad :
The economist must forego the aid of a complete set of technical terms. He must make the terms in common use serve his purpose in the expression of precise thought, by the aid of qualifying adjectives or other indications in the context. If he arbitrarily assigns a rigid exact use to a word which has several more or less vague uses in the market-place , he confuses business men , and he is in some danger of committing himself to untenable positions."
The economist who wishes to lead his community in the field of ideas must apparently remember to follow his community in the use of language.