U can’t touch this! The intangible revolution
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Every year, many books are written that focus on new trends in business, management, the economy, and financial markets.1 I often find myself reacting to this stream with a bit of indifference—key points in these books are widely known, too clichéd, or too focused on the fad of the day. But, once in a while, a new book pulls together disparate strands of knowledge to highlight an important but slow moving and therefore hard to see trend. Capitalism without Capital by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake is just such a book.
The book’s basic story has two key ingredients. First, that the intensity of intangible capital in developed economies has increased in recent decades and is likely to continue rising. Indeed, intangible capital—knowledge or ideas that create value over time but that cannot be touched—now is more important than tangible capital in a number of developed economies.2Second, intangible capital is fundamentally different from tangible capital in ways that help to explain...
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