The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics

2018 Edition
| Editors: Macmillan Publishers Ltd

Financial Intermediaries

  • James Tobin
Reference work entry


The tangible wealth of a nation consists of its natural resources, its stocks of goods, and its net claims against the rest of the world. The goods include structures, durable equipment of service to consumers or producers, and inventories of finished goods, raw materials and goods in process. A nation’s wealth will help to meet its people’s future needs and desires; tangible assets do so in a variety of ways, sometimes by yielding directly consumable goods and services, more often by enhancing the power of human effort and intelligence in producing consumable goods and services. There are many intangible forms of the wealth of a nation, notably the skill, knowledge and character of its population and the framework of law, convention and social interaction that sustains cooperation and community.

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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • James Tobin
    • 1
  1. 1.