The intangible economy

A friend recently recommend an article posted by Bill Gates to LinkedIn, Not enough people are paying attention to this global trend. What is this trend, you may ask?

Unlike the goods that powered our economy in the past, software is an intangible asset. And software isn’t the only example: data, insurance, e-books, even movies work in similar ways. 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.

This – intangible assets – is of course at the heart of the tib(na) labs mission, and understanding how these types of assets will impact economics, among many other aspects of life and how the world functions, is one of our key goals.

In the article Gates recommends Capitalism Without Capital: The Rise of the Intangible Economy, which I have recently begun reading. The focus of the book is, as far (near?) as I can tell, about how to best account for intangibles in the existing economic structures of capitalism (hence the title), but I think it will provide some excellent insight into how we might understand and address intangibles as an important part of our economic, and probably governance, systems.