The intellectual history of intellectual capital and intangible assets

OK – no, this really isn’t an intellectual history of intellectual capital and intangible assets. But it is a fun look at how those terms (and the term “intellectual property”) has appeared in the past. Google has created a new application — Books Ngram Viewer — that allows you to chart how often a phrase is used in books from 1800 to 2000. Below are the results. For the phrases intangible assets and intellectual capital, there were spikes of interest around 1920 (with some earlier and later smaller spikes of interest in intangible assets). The phrase intellectual property really did start to be used until the mid-1980’s.
The application not only charts the use of the phrases, it gives you access to the searches as well. I would note that a review of this search for very early citation reveals that some entries are misdated. Still, plenty of raw information for someone who wants to look into the intellectual history of intellectual capital.
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One thought on “The intellectual history of intellectual capital and intangible assets”

  1. What do we mean by “intangible assets”

    There is a problem with our language. Specifically with the use of the phrase that is the cornerstone of this blog: “intangibles”. It is a word that gets used sometimes without a specific meaning but a general sense that can…

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