|Lecture handout: Capital theory*|
Textbook Reading: Chapter 6 (pp.165-197)
There is still a website containing the “Millennium Dome Collection”, but this Guardian article provides a thorough retrospective.
Here is the video of the Sinclair C5 Infomercial:
- Further reading: James, D.N., 2002, “The Trouble I’ve Seen” Harvard Business Review
For a book length treatment of the concept of intangible capital see:
- Haskel, J. and Westlake, S., 2017, Capitalism without capital, Princeton University Press
The lesson for economic policy in a world of intangibles is to invest in “knowledge infrastructure”, i.e.
- Urban planning
- Public science
For a nice attempt to avoid treating intangibles as a residual, or less clear category and a meaningful attempt to conceptualise and study them see:
- Crouzet, Nicolas, Janice C. Eberly, Andrea L. Eisfeldt, and Dimitris Papanikolaou. 2022. “The Economics of Intangible Capital.” Journal of Economic Perspectives, 36 (3): 29-52.
They argue that intangibles require a storage medium, where “The medium can be a piece of physical capital, like a computer (for software), or a document (for a patent or a design), or a person (for a method or an innovation).” This need for a storage medium implies two things:
- Non-rivalry in use
- Limited excludability
They argue that, “the extent to which these properties generate a valuable intangible asset— which motivates investment—depends on the properties of the storage technology, and the resulting non-rivalry and excludability, and the institutions that enforce property rights.”
For more on business plan ecology, see
- Beinhocker, E.D., 2006, The Origin of Wealth Harvard Business School Press
- Moore, J., 1993, “Predators and Prey: A New Ecology of Competition” Harvard Business Review
When talking about macroeconomics I think it’s important to distinguish between the overall economy and the circumstances of an individual firm. We can’t always assume that macro conditions are felt the same by each company within it. I explain more in this video:
Unemployment and the labour market
The most striking fact about labour markets over recent years is the decline in labour force participation across the developed world:
By contrast, labour force participation of women has increased:
Martin Wolf believes this is due to the following main factors:
- Declining fertility (due to lower infant mortality and, perhaps, seat belt laws)
- Lower household maintenance costs
- Declining relevance of physical strength for productive activity
- Rise of the service economy
But notice how, in the US, the prime-age female participation rate has in fact fallen from 2000 to 2019. These images are from: Wolf, M., 2023, The crisis of democratic capitalism, Allen Lane, p. 96.
|Learning Objectives: To understand what capital goods are
Spotlight on sustainability: Look at instances where resources have been reconfigured for alternate uses