Wednesday, August 29, 2012

The Untouchable Economy

...or, subtitle, "Why Americans Are Turning Against 'Stuff'" by Michael Mandel in the Atlantic.

Millennials are shifting from tangibles (cars and homes) to intangibles (education and access to data), but they are not alone. In today's data-driven economy, the business sector is moving along the same tangible-to-intangible path as the Millennials, perhaps at an even faster pace. Business spending on nonresidential structures, other than mining-related, is roughly 30% below the 2007 pre-recession highs, while investment in software is up almost 20% over the same period.

It ought to have much greater implications for how we think about the economy. An intangible economy works differently. Our time-honored intuitions about property rights and exchange and marginal cost don't work reliably.

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