Wealth  

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1872 photograph of the western face of the Greek Parthenon
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1872 photograph of the western face of the Greek Parthenon

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Wealth from the old English word "weal", which means "well-being" or "welfare". The term was originally an adjective to describe the possession of such qualities.

"Wealth" has come to mean an abundance of items of economic value, or the state of controlling or possessing such items, and encompasses money, real estate and personal property. In many countries wealth is also measured by reference to access to essential services such as health care, or the possession of crops and livestock. An individual who is wealthy, affluent, or rich is someone who has accumulated substantial wealth relative to others in their society or reference group. In economics, wealth refers to the value of assets owned minus the value of liabilities owed at a point in time.

'Wealth' refers to some accumulation of resources, whether abundant or not. 'Richness' refers to an abundance of such resources. A wealthy (or rich) individual, community, or nation thus has more resources than a poor one. Richness can also refer at least basic needs being met with abundance widely shared. The opposite of wealth is destitution. The opposite of richness is poverty.

The term implies a social contract on establishing and maintaining ownership in relation to such items which can be invoked with little or no effort and expense on the part of the owner (see means of protection).

The concept of wealth is relative and not only varies between societies, but will often vary between different sections or regions in the same society. For example, a personal net worth of US $1,000,000 in most parts of the United States Midwest would certainly place a person among the wealthiest citizens, yet the same net wealth would be considered quite modest on New York City's Upper East Side or in the Connecticut suburbs. However, such amounts would constitute extraordinary wealth in impoverished developing countries.

Some of the wealthiest countries in the world are the United States, the United Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, Norway, Japan, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates (especially Dubai), South Korea, Germany, The Netherlands, Belgium, France, Israel, Taiwan, Australia, Singapore, Canada, Finland, Greece, Spain, Portugal, Sweden, Italy, New Zealand, Iceland, Monaco, Luxembourg, Liechenstein and Switzerland, the larger of which are in the G8. All of the above countries, except United Arab Emirates and Kuwait, are considered developed countries.

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Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Wealth" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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