The first comprehensive account of the growing dominance of the intangible economy Early in the twenty-first century, a quiet revolution occurred. For the first time, the major developed economies began to invest more in intangible assets, like design, branding, R&D, and software, than in tangible assets, like machinery, buildings, and computers. For all sorts of businesses, from tech firms and pharma companies to coffee shops and gyms, the ability to deploy assets that one can neither see nor touch is increasingly the main source of long-term success. But this is not just a familiar story of the so-called new economy. Capitalism without Capital shows that the growing importance of intangible assets has also played a role in some of the big economic changes of the last decade. The rise of intangible investment is, Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake argue, an underappreciated cause of phenomena from economic inequality to stagnating productivity. Haskel and Westlake bring together a decade of research on how to measure intangible investment and its impact on national accounts, showing the amount different countries invest in intangibles, how this has changed over time, and the latest thinking on how to assess this. They explore the unusual economic characteristics of intangible investment, and discuss how these features make an intangible-rich economy fundamentally different from one based on tangibles. Capitalism without Capital concludes by presenting three possible scenarios for what the future of an intangible world might be like, and by outlining how managers, investors, and policymakers can exploit the characteristics of an intangible age to grow their businesses, portfolios, and economies.
"Compelling.... Haskel and Westlake have mapped the economics of a challenging new economy."
--Martin Wolf, Financial Times
"One of this year's most important and stimulating economic reads.... Read this book."
--Tyler Cowen, Marginal Revolution
"For an introduction ... it would be hard to do better than Capitalism without Capital, which is clear and lively and raises--without having all the answers--the relevant questions."
--Diane Coyle, Enlightened Economist
"The book makes its case in a lighthearted, conversational way that will appeal to economists and non-economists alike."
"One of the year's most talked-about books.""One of the Economist.com "Wise Words 2017 Books of the Year" in Economics and Business""One of Blackwell's Best of Non-Fiction 2017""One of Financial Times (FT.com) Best Books of 2017: Economics""Selected for Askblog's Books of the year 2017, chosen by Arnold Kling"
--John Harris, The Guardian
"The portion of the world's economy that doesn't fit the old model just keeps getting larger. That has major implications for everything from tax law to economic policy to which cities thrive and which cities fall behind, but in general, the rules that govern the economy haven't kept up. This is one of the biggest trends in the global economy that isn't getting enough attention. If you want to understand why this matters, the brilliant new book Capitalism Without Capital by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake is about a good an explanation as I've seen."
List of Illustrations vii
1 Introduction 1
Part I The Rise of the Intangible Economy
2 Capital's Vanishing Act 15
3 How to Measure Intangible Investment 36
4 What's Different about Intangible Investment? The Four S's of Intangibles 58
Part II The Consequences of the Rise of the Intangible Economy
5 Intangibles, Investment, Productivity, and Secular Stagnation 91
6 Intangibles and the Rise of Inequality 118
7 Infrastructure for Intangibles, and Intangible Infrastructure 144
8 The Challenge of Financing an Intangible Economy 158
9 Competing, Managing, and Investing in the Intangible Economy 182
10 Public Policy in an Intangible Economy: Five Hard Questions 208
11 Summary, Conclusion, and the Way Ahead 239
Tertiary; University or College
Number Of Pages: 296
Published: 16th October 2018
Publisher: Princeton University Press
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 20.2 x 19.1
Weight (kg): 0.27
Edition Number: 1