Intangible Capital
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Intangible Capital

Its Contribution to Economic Growth, Well-being and Rationality

John F. Tomer

Despite increasing research efforts, there is still much confusion regarding the nature and contribution of the most intangible forms of capital. This book develops a comprehensive and unifying conception of intangible capital in order to understand its role with respect to economic growth, well-being, and rationality. As the book illustrates, utilizing the intangible capital concept enables many new and important economic insights. Intangible capital is defined to include standard human capital, noncognitive human capital (including personal capital), social capital, and other intangible manifestations of human capacity. Understanding intangible capital is a key to realizing the full human potential of our economic systems.
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Chapter 15: Conclusion: Intangible Capital and the Human Potential of the Socio-economy

John F. Tomer


INTRODUCTION Intangible capital, you may recall from Chapter 2, includes all the intangible, long-lived human capacities that are embodied in individuals as well as those embodied in human relationships. This includes many capabilities that most economists have excluded from the domain of capital, but it excludes certain intangibles, like most of intellectual capital, which are not embodied in humans. This definition makes sense because it is consistent with the core meaning of the concept of capital as well as with the definitions of different types of IC such as standard human capital and social capital. This IC definition, the theoretical explanations regarding the contributions of IC, and the relevant empirical findings in this book constitute a broad framework for thinking about IC and its importance. This framework in effect also provides an agenda for further research, indicating what we know about IC as well as the gaps in our knowledge. Many of the preceding chapters have provided examples of the importance of different types of IC, especially personal capital and social capital. But there is much that remains unexplored. In particular, there is a clear need for creative empirical research that would enable much greater understanding of the economic role of these intangible human capacities, especially the more intangible ones. INTANGIBLE CAPITAL AND THE ECONOMY’S POTENTIAL In the process of doing research focused on IC, one cannot help but gain an appreciation of the human quality of the economy. As this book has emphasized,...

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