In economics a capital good is to be distinguished from a consumer good by the role a capital good plays in the production of a consumer good. Fair enough. We have the classic distinction between means and ends, and it is one of those fundamental distinctions without which naught in thought (thought always requires distinction–subject/object, thinker/thought, thing thought and what is thought about).
If there are both capital goods and consumer (end) goods, then there is production that must be geared toward both capital goods and consumer goods. To the degree that a capital good makes possible the consumer good the investment, diverted temporarily from consumer good production, will be worth it. So, he who wants fish may employ hands or he may produce a net. So, he who wants wheat may employ hands or he may produce a plow.
The Puritanical Libertarian can’t stop with the analogy from the material to the moral. What is the end good for the development of the human? Blessedness, tranquility, enlightenment, autonomy, happiness, etc. What are the capital goods, the production of which are worth producing for the sake of more effective production of the end goods? These are the virtues. The virtues are the analogous capital goods.
The analogy continued. Just as he who aims at the final consumer goods, prior to capital good production, has only his energy, labor, ingenuity, experience, etc. (and we will resist the rabbit trail that the status of these goods invites) at his disposal, so he who aims at tranquility or blessedness has only his energy, labor, ingenuity, experience at his disposal.
The analogy would allow the inference then that to some degree life for the undeveloped individual without virtue but who wants tranquility or blessedness will feel like the life of the man fishing or gardening without net or plow! Difficult. But so it is, what else is there to do?
In the moral realm on has one’s effort to aim at tranquility or blessedness. I want to hold out the notion of capital goods to he who seeks development. The virtues are the goods which increase the production of tranquility and blessedness exponentially. Watch out for profit!
Even better, there is hardly a time when there is not an opportunity for the training in these capital goods called virtue! Rejoice dear reader. Are you awake? Do you have before you choice? Do you have before you things you will be drawn toward or repelled from? Here is your chance for temperance and courage development. Do you have before you interaction with other “rational” (in name at least) animals? Here is your chance for justice development. The list could be continued but it need not be. Patience, endurance, sincerity, mercy, loyalty, honesty, liberality, magnanimity, industry are in the basket of capital goods that are useful for the way in which they support the end consumer good of tranquility or blessedness.
Let’s go get to it!