HCEO Co-Director Robert Dugger recently sat down with us to discuss his interest in developing the human capital of the next generation.

"My main area of research is the capability of a society to raise children to productive young adulthood, with an emphasis on the moral dimensions of that process," he says.

Dugger notes that so many industries have been rigorously examined by economists, but there is still much to learn about raising children to productive adulthood. "We know very little about the dimensions and the people involved or the companies involved or the ideas involved in the, so to speak, next generation industry," he says. "My work is focused on documenting on what’s in the next generation industry and how we can politically organize it."

Dugger takes a rights-based approach to human capital production. Just as children in the U.S. have a right to an education, he believes they should similarly have a right to acquiring the skills they need to be productive members of society.

"Education is a key component of taking a child from infancy to young adulthood," he says. "That right contributes to that state's ability to produce the quality of young adults that it’s going to need in its workforce. That’s what I’m interested in. I’m interested in what legal changes enable a society to produce the human capital it needs for the next generation."

He notes that our current efforts are leaving many kids behind. "At best 30 to 40 percent of young adults are ready for life in their early twenties," he says. "We can do better than that. And we need to do better than that."

A co-founder of ReadyNation, Dugger is a venture capital investor, managing partner at Hanover Provident Capital and retired partner in the hedge fund Tudor Investment Corporation.