We look at this book which tackles some serious and challenging problems. See more about Restarting the Future: How to Fix the Intangible Economy by Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake see more on the Princeton website here.
Restarting the Future: How to Fix the Intangible Economy, reviewed
It is probably fair to say that the belief in the only upward trajectory of humanity, that things will only get better, has been deeply shaken. Terrible, lowest common denominator populist movements in many, previously fairer and more open countries, the UK, Brazil, India, the US, how bad do you have to be to no longer be the leading opposition candidate in the next US presidential elections.
Similarly with global warming and climate change, things are deteriorating, most certainly not improving (unless you are a carbon producing company lobbyist). Then you have two years and counting of a global pandemic, thankfully a cure has been discovered, but people are still dying from it. Then you throw in the pointless, lopsided and deeply deluded actions being inflicted upon Ukraine, in the name of de-Nazification, conducted by people who already due a date in The Hague for war crimes committed.
In this context Haskel and Westlake have tackled a timely, but also deeply complex series of questions. This is a book well worth having been written, the question might be is how on earth can these issues be tackled. Especially when we still see people like Orban being re-elected. If we accept the perspective that if issues can at least be named and articulated, then it is at least slightly more possible to formulate potentially workable solutions. Hopefully.
The book is thought provoking, and does help as a primer to have a sense of what needs to be tackled. You could argue that at least with many of the current issues you can at least point out when truth diverges from reality, and in real time, false assertions can be pointed out. The question will still then arise about what happens when Russian spokespeople and or Trump-like characters seem to still be able to hold any credibility with their assertions. As the authors of this book stress, we do need to restart the future. Lets hope this can be kick started as soon as possible.
See more about the book here
The past two decades have witnessed sluggish economic growth, mounting inequality, dysfunctional competition, and a host of other ills that have left people wondering what has happened to the future they were promised. Restarting the Future reveals how these problems arise from a failure to develop the institutions demanded by an economy now reliant on intangible capital such as ideas, relationships, brands, and knowledge.
In this groundbreaking and provocative book, Jonathan Haskel and Stian Westlake argue that the great economic disappointment of the century is the result of an incomplete transition from an economy based on physical capital, and show how the vital institutions that underpin our economy remain geared to an outmoded way of doing business. The growth of intangible investment has slowed significantly in recent years, making the world poorer, less fair, and more vulnerable to existential threats. Haskel and Westlake present exciting new ideas to help us catch up with the intangible revolution, offering a road map for how to finance businesses, improve our cities, fund more science and research, reform monetary policy, and reshape intellectual property rules for the better.
Drawing on Haskel and Westlake’s experience at the forefront of finance and economic policymaking, Restarting the Future sets out a host of radical but practical solutions that can lead us into the future.
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