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Capitalism Without Capital

The Rise of the Intangible Economy
Narrated by: Derek Perkins
Length: 8 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (289 ratings)
Regular price: $24.49
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Publisher's Summary

The first comprehensive account of the growing dominance of the intangible economy

Early in the 21st 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, or 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.

Author bio: Jonathan Haskel is professor of economics at Imperial College London. Stian Westlake is a senior fellow at Nesta, the UK's national foundation for innovation.

©2018 Princeton University Press (P)2018 Recorded Books

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INVESTMENT VALUE

In addressing 21st century technology, Haskel and Westlake argue that the tradition of hard asset value is diminished. In today’s technological economy, the authors suggest investment in intangibles is as important as investment in buildings and machinery.

Haskel and Westlake acknowledge intangibles have always been an important part of economic growth. They note worker training programs, specialized employee’ experience, and patented designs have always had value; but auditors rarely (if at all) quantified those intangibles as anything other than expense. Little of a company’s investment in training, employee experience, and patents is assigned as an asset by analysts who use pre-twenty-first century accounting rules.

Most intangibles have historically been classified as uncapitalized expenses. In part, because quantification of intangibles is difficult to measure. Before the tech-revolution, investments in training, patents, and experience were looked at as costs of doing business. They were most often expensed (with some exception for patents).

Historically, intangible value has always been with us but recognized as an expense. Haskel and Westlake suggest intangibles need to be partially and judiciously accounted for as assets. When recognized as assets, intangible values open the door to wider private and public finance.



3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • GSS
  • Washington DC
  • 03-08-18

Fascinating topic

Would you consider the audio edition of Capitalism Without Capital to be better than the print version?

No. Print might work better because of the complexities of the subject

Who was your favorite character and why?

There were no characters. This is a book about economics. You need to refine your algorithms in your software.

Which character – as performed by Derek Perkins – was your favorite?

?? The dollar? Money? What on earth do you mean?

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

Only an idiot would make a film of this book. Who thought up this question?

Any additional comments?

You need to work on your software. Your questions are stupid.

40 of 51 people found this review helpful

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Excellent insight into this part of the economy

Excellent insight into a valuable part of the economy which is often hidden from sight.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Must read for anyone who works in IP/technology

great book for those who work in intangible area I.e. patents, trademarks, art, music, etc.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
  • A. Wenzel
  • San Francisco, CA United States
  • 10-04-18

A primer on the economy as it exists today.

Intangible investments affect the economy differently. How companies access capital, invest capital, measure value, and manage resources are critical. Brand and intangibles are where most of the value lives.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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interesting but slightly dry

very interesting subject on a great analysis of it. repetitious and dry at times. nevertheless worth the read

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars

Very wordy as for the amount of ideas presented

Buy this book if you are a newcomer to the world of intangibles and intellectual property, as it will give you a general impression of the current state of affairs and academic research in the area.

Don't buy this book if you have spent some time observing the IP industry, even as an outsider, as most ideas expressed in this book will be already known to you.

My low valuation is based on the fact that the book does not offer any answers, except for increasing the role of governments in investing into intangible R&D, but instead posts a lot of general questions. Yet, it provides a lot of academic references, which I look forward to using to dig deeper into the subject.

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Intangible assets and its rise in our every day life

A great book about intangible assets, how they have increased its importance in our economy, what macroeconomic impact and regulatory requirements that should be considered and how to manage business with regards to intangible assets. I will recommend this book for people with interest for finance, management and regulatory macroeconomic factors.

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Good info, a bit dry

I did learn a lot like considering IP, organizational structures, processes, etc. that you may not traditionally associate with things like GDP.

Overall good info, but lacks any kind of story and could be abbreviated a bit. Was mainly a blast of academic speak about intangibles.

I read this because of the narrator Derek Perkins on Yuval Harari’s books, but that didn’t help much on this one.

I guess the takeaway is a more educated perspective on how to influence companies and politics to drive a better economy for the future based upon our current economic environment and trajectory.

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  • r
  • 03-29-18

<br />Not groundbreaking but useful. I don't

Not groundbreaking but useful. I don't think I will invest differently but I liked the idea of the industrial Commons

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  • grimnortherner
  • 04-23-18

Repetitive and disappointing

The title and reviews led me to believe this was a revolutionary new concept of capitalism without capital. Some kind of gift economy or as yet unimagined world changing piece of genius. But it’s just about intangible vs tangible assets.

Constant repetition of a single point. Tangible assets are tangible. Intangible assets are not. Tangible assets can be locked away. Intangible assets cannot. Etc. Scalability, IP, spillovers, yada yada.

The waffle about how we define and measure GDP and other intellectual concepts is a bean counter’s wet dream. Not my cup of tea.

There are sporadic analyses of companies and countries that make for interesting listening as they shed a tiny light on the concept.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Iain Palmer
  • 01-08-19

Very good, listened twice

Really interesting and very well delivered. Lots of the insights a very relevant to many modern companies and economies. So good I've listened to it again.

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  • rockalt
  • 10-18-18

Interesting but difficult to digest

The subject material is fascinating but I struggled to make it through it and retain all of the details. I'm a big fan of audio books but perhaps academic ones such as this are better read on paper. Nice job by the narrator overall.

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  • Nikolay
  • 04-26-18

ok, but too dry sometimes

too many remarks like X shown in a paper... I would rather get a direct statement on what was shown. The book contains brilliant ideas, overviews and examples, but is sometimes overly-hedgy academic and dryily indirect.

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  • Yeh C.
  • 03-06-18

Excellent!

The author excellent describes how intangible assets have become more important in the economies of developed nations, and how individuals, businesses and public institutions might respond to the challenges.

The layout is clearly structured and the authors are very knowledgeable in economics and related fields, and the audiobook is narrated by the always excellent Derek Perkins. Highly recommended

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  • Anonymous User
  • 11-12-18

Insightful and engaging

This is a great book for anyone interested in intellectual property and intangible assets and how they influence the modern economy

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-18-18

An amazing morning listen

wonderful work , great perspective building , especially for early web start up founders .