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What is Wealth?

2016-12-08T13:54:48+00:00

The term 'Wealth' is included in the Banking edition of the Financial Dictionary. Get yours now on amazon in ebook or paperback format. Read more here...

Wealth proves to be the abundant possession of material things or other resources that are considered to be valuable. People, areas, communities, or nations who control these assets are said to be wealthy. The word for wealth comes from the old English word ‘Weal’ and ‘th’, which means ‘the conditions of well-being’.

The ideas of wealth have great importance for every part of the study of economics. This is particularly the case with development economics. Since the definition of wealth often depends on the situation in which you use it, no universally accepted definition for wealth exists. Different individuals have expressed a number of varying ideas of wealth in differing scenarios. Stating the concept of wealth often involves ethics and moral issues, because the accumulation of wealth is viewed by many people as the highest goal.

Wealth is not evenly distributed throughout the world. In the year 2000, world wealth estimates ranged around $125 trillion. The citizens of Europe, North America, and a few high income Asian countries have ninety percent of all of this wealth. Besides this shocking statistic, only one percent of all adults on earth possess forty percent of the planet’s wealth. This number declines to thirty-two percent when wealth is calculated according to purchasing power parity, or equivalency of what it buys from one country to the next.

Wealth and richness are two separate words that are used interchangeably. They mean slightly different things. Wealth describes gathering up resources, whether they are common or abundant. Richness relates to having such resources in abundance. Wealthy countries and people possess many more resources than do poor ones. The word richness is similarly employed to describe peoples’ basic needs being fulfilled through sharing the collective abundance. Wealth’s opposite proves to be destitution, while richness’ opposite is known as poverty.

It is a concept that requires a social contract of ownership to be set up and enforced. Ideas of wealth are actually relative. They range from not only one society and people to another, but even between varying regions or areas of the same society or nation. As an example, having ten thousand dollars throughout all of the United States does not make a person among the richest in any area of the country. But this amount in desperately poor developing nations would represent a huge quantity of wealth.

The idea of wealth changes in different times too. Thanks to the progress of science and machines that save labor, even the poorest in America today benefit from a higher standard of living than the wealthy used to enjoy not so long ago. Assuming this trend continues, then the wealthiest people’s standard of living today will be considered poor in the future.

The term 'Wealth' is included in the Banking edition of the Financial Dictionary. You can get your copy on amazon in Kindle or Paperback version. See more details here.