Intangible Assets and the Financialized Business Enterprise: A Veblen-Commons Approach
Avraham Izhar Baranes
Journal of Economic Issues, 2020, vol. 54, issue 3, 692-709
In the Veblen-Commons view of the business enterprise as going concern, the primary goal of the enterprise is to engage in sequential acts of production through time. To that end, intangible assets play a crucial role in providing a differential advantage, granting the owners an income stream separate from normal activity that more easily allows them to achieve this purpose. Therefore, understanding the business enterprise from a Veblen-Commons perspective requires first and foremost an understanding of the way in which such assets confer this differential advantage. In doing so, two things become clear: First, such assets are grounded in law and accounting, and as such, any discussion of them must include a discussion of how they emerge in a legal process and how accountants treat them on the balance sheet. Second, as the enterprise evolves, so too does the form of the differential advantage. This article incorporates both of these points to provide a clear, coherent framework of intangible assets within the business enterprise from a Veblen-Commons perspective that can be used to understand a financialized economy.
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