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Intellectual capital is a class of business assets that emerged toward the end of the 20th century and rapidly achieved strategic, financial, and economic significance in the world of business and the affairs of society. Although these intellectual assets were long recognized in some inchoate sense, and referred to as “goodwill” by accountants and financial executives, it was not until the end of the 20th century that they became formally recognized, differentiated, monetized, and placed on par with traditional physical and financial assets, and began to gain their ethical character.

Economically, intellectual capital is the asset base of a new, knowledge-based economy that is producing significant levels of equity and wealth based on the formalization of ideas, innovation, and creativity. Intellectual capital has achieved immense ...

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