Public wealth has declined in most countries since the 1980s.

“Net public wealth (public assets minus public debts) has even become negative in recent years in the United States and the UK, and is only slightly positive in Japan, Germany, and France.”

“In the UK and the United States, national wealth consists entirely of private wealth, as net public wealth has become negative (that is, public assets are now below public debt). France, Japan, and Germany have also experienced a significant decline in public wealth, which is now worth just about 10–20% of national income according to official estimates—that is, a very tiny fraction of total national wealth.”

“Today, with either small or negative net public wealth, the governments of developed countries are arguably limited in their ability to intervene in the economy, redistribute income, and mitigate rising inequality.”


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