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….Data is a new form of capital. It is undoubtedly a production factor as it allows the creation of wealth, just as monetary assets, infrastructure, equipment, and human labor do; production factors are elements that allow the economy to move. They include assets, both tangible and intangible, and the labor of individuals.

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…. The presence of the new production factor modifies the entire landscape of economic and social interaction....

Data capital is not a traditional production factor. It has its own features, that impact the interaction between old and new social classes.

The features which I will address in this chapter are

  • the mobility of assets,

  • the tangibility, which here means our ability to attribute economic value (objective or not) to them,

  • the variability[1] (or, how the value of assets can change), and

the ownership of them, along with the possible (re-)creation of production factors.

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* In the book “Data, New Technologies and Global Imbalances,beyond the obvious” I had identified three major technology trends: digital technologies, new manufacturing technologies, and technologies used to access resources; then I had identified three major industrial trends: (i) the digitalization of industry and services, (ii) new manufacturing paradigms, and (iii) the complexification of value chains, products, and processes.…

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[1] The term “variability” should not be confused with the term “volatility.” An asset is deemed volatile when its value changes rapidly. Variability, meanwhile, indicates that at any moment in time the same production factor can have a different value for different people and organizations. 

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