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Wealth

The state of having strong financial resources. There is no strict definition of how much one needs to have in order to be "wealthy," but, in general, it refers to one with significantly more assets than liabilities. However, socially, a person with too much debt may be considered to be wealthy because others are not aware of his/her true financial state. Excess wealth (and wealthy persons) drives economic growth. Some believe this ought to be encouraged, as it eventually makes the remainder of society wealthier. Others, however, believe growth is strongest when the needs of multiple classes, and not just the wealthy, are balanced. A few others believe most wealth ought to be confiscated and redistributed, but this is a minority opinion.

wealth

the total stock of ASSETS owned by the population of a country. Wealth represents past income flows which have been used to buy such assets as houses, land, stocks and shares etc. One commonly used measure of wealth in the UK is that of ‘marketable wealth’, consisting of those assets which are readily saleable. Wealth in the UK, like income, (see DISTRIBUTION OF INCOME), is unevenly distributed (see Fig. 89). See WEALTH TAX.
Wealthclick for a larger image
Fig. 197 Wealth. The distribution of marketable wealth in the UK, 2002. The total includes land and dwellings (net of mortgage debt), stocks and shares, bank and building society deposits and other financial assets but excludes life assurance and pensions. Source: Social Trends, 2004.

wealth

the stock of net ASSETS owned by individuals or households. In aggregate terms, one widely used measure of the nation's total stock of wealth is that of ‘marketable wealth’, that is, physical and financial assets that are in the main relatively liquid. In 2002, marketable wealth in the UK totalled around £3,400 billion (this excludes life assurance and pension entitlements, which account for some one-third of all wealth assets but which are not readily liquid). Marketable wealth is not equally distributed in the UK, as Fig. 197 shows. In 2002, the richest 5% of the population owned 43% of marketable wealth.