Assets are made through the configuration of technoscientific and political-economic (or techno-economic) relations, claims and practices; a process increasingly conceptualized as ‘assetization’. The UN’s System of National Accounts (SNA) – a set of national accounting standards – defines assets as ‘entities that must be owned by some unit, or units, and from which economic benefits are derived by their owner(s) by holding or using them over a period of time’. Accounting standards like the SNA are implicated in the construction of assets through their ‘extension of the asset boundary’, which happens periodically as accounting standards are revised and updated to better reflect changing business practices. Assetization, then, entails more than an analysis of the transformation of something into an asset, it can also be conceptualized as a mode of governance in which social actors change their world. To make this argument, I examine the SNA’s treatment of knowledge, education and personal data: respectively, redefined as an asset (e.g. intellectual property product); treated as a quasi-asset (e.g. human capital); and subject to continued debate (e.g. digital data). In exploring the SNA’s accounting standards, I show how assetization reconfigures the governance of knowledge, education and personal data, often in problematic ways.

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