The+Secrets+of+Intangible+Wealth

The+Secrets+of+Intangible+Wealth - The Secrets of...

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The Secrets of Intangible Wealth By Ronald Bailey The Wall Street Journal, September 29, 2007 A Mexican migrant to the U.S. is five times more productive that one who stays home. Why is that? The answer is not the obvious one: This country has more machinery or tools or natural resources. Instead, according to some remarkable but largely ignored research – by the World Bank, of all places – it is because the average American has access to over $418,000 in intangible wealth, while the stay-at-home Mexican’s intangible wealth is just $34,000. But what is intangible wealth, and how on earth is it measured? And what does it mean for the world’s people – poor and rich? That’s where the story gets even more interesting. Two years ago the World Bank’s environmental economics department set out to assess the relative contributions of various kinds of capital to economic development. Its study, “Where Is the Wealth of Nations?: Measuring Capital for the 21 st Century,” began by defining natural capital as the sum of nonrenewable resources (including oil, natural gas, coal and mineral resources), cropland, pasture land, forested areas and protected areas. Protected, or built, capital is what many of us think of when we think of capital: the sum of machinery, equipment, and structures (including infrastructure) and urban land. But once the value[s] of all these are added up, the economists found something big was
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The+Secrets+of+Intangible+Wealth - The Secrets of...

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