The above title is right whereas it is true, proper and just. Yes, it is definitely not “Capital and Labor” but the other way around – “Labor and Capital”, considering their respective significance, implications and impact. While probably unintended and even unwanted, there is “Labor Day” while “Capital Day” is unheard of. So it is that as far as ground realities are concerned, labor has preferential consideration and appreciation over capital. The reasons behind such preference are not really hard to decipher: Whole capital has direct reference to material – financial, economic, pecuniary – realities, labor however enjoys priority of attention and care by reason of the human persons, the human agents behind them in order to keep capital not simply intact but to make it also productive and therefore increase its worth plus extend its benefits to others.
This is not in any way meant to undermine, much less depreciate the nature, worth and significance of capital – but simply intended to call to mind and emphasize certain truths as the following: It is labor that initially builds up capital such that in the last analysis, capital is but a fruit of labor. Capital by itself alone does nothing really, considering that its increase or amelioration is on account of the productive intervention of labor. So is it that as it is labor that makes capital productive in favor not only of the capitalists themselves but primarily so, for the good and welfare of others precisely benefited by the productivity of capital through the intervention of labor.
So it is that:
Labor, considering its subjective personal element is superior to capital, inclusive of all other human factors connected with productivity.
Labor itself can be rightfully considered as human capital with specific reference to human resources that make capital precisely productive.
Labor is the product of the workings of the human mind plus human strength which are superior in nature and significance to material resources.
Labor in fact means human resources more concretely in terms of human knowledge and creativity, capability and productivity.
Labor has intrinsic priority over and above capital although it is still their complementary relationship that brings about productivity.
So comes to fore every now and then, the drawing of a horse and cart. When joined together, the cart moves and the horse shows its worth. When separated, anything can happen except that which is supposed to. This in no way means that the horse is necessarily worth much more than the cart – or vice versa. It is but one way of saying that labor and capital need one another for both to benefit from one another. This is precisely why when labor calls for a strike and when capital stages a lock-out – both are the losers. But just the same, labor with its human dimension is nobler than capital with its but material worth.