Wednesday 21 February 2018


Capitalism without capital

Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake

In mid-2000s, a quiet revolution occurred. For the first time, American businesses began to invest more in intangible assets (such as design, branding, R&D or software) than tangible assets (machinery, buildings and computers), a trend that has been mirrored in other rich countries.

In Capitalism without Capital, Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake bring together a decade of research on how to measure intangible investment and what its impacts are. They argue that the rise of intangible investment is an underappreciated cause of some of the greatest economic concerns of our time, including increasing economic inequality and stagnating productivity levels.

Jonathan Haskel

Jonathan is Professor of Economics at Imperial College Business School and Academic Director of the School.  He was previously Professor and Head of Department at the Department of Economics, Queen Mary, University of London and has taught at several other universities. He is a non-Executive Director of the UK Statistics Authority and was formerly a Member, Reporting Panel of the Competition Commission (now the Competition and Markets Authority).

Stian Westlake

Stian is Policy Advisor to the Minister of State in BEIS. He formerly led the Policy and Research team at Nesta, worked in social venture capital at The Young Foundation and founded Healthy Incentives, an innovative health venture. Prior to this, he spent seven years with McKinsey & Company in Silicon Valley and London, including a year on secondment to HM Treasury as a founder member of a unit set up to develop and reform Public-Private Partnerships.

For all sorts of businesses ... the ability to deploy assets that one can neither see nor touch is the main source of long-term success.