October 2, 2022

Adam Smith In The Wealth Of Nations – ASI colleague Nigel Hawkins revealed £600bn of government-owned but uninvestigated assets on the market. The brochure recommends selling 10% of the assets to test the market and see if they are being used properly, and to start giving the government money to reduce the country’s debts. A new book called The Public Dog Deter and the Wealth of Nations, by Stephen Folster, makes the same argument, albeit more broadly. It has a range and depth of focus. Part of the book says:

Globally, it was the Thatcher/Reagan economic revolution that never happened. The largest concentration of wealth in the world – combined global wealth twice the size of all the world’s pension funds and more than ten times the amount of real estate in the world – is still held by publicly traded assets. And yet, while it is the largest fund of wealth in the world, it is also one of the most disgusting – what is happening in it is often unknown to the governments that run it. In most countries, this investment is a huge financial and political burden on society. Managed with technology, it could generate $2.7 trillion annually, more than is spent on the world’s current infrastructure: transportation, electricity, water, and communications.

Adam Smith In The Wealth Of Nations

Adam Smith In The Wealth Of Nations

Is there any reason for hospitals to own their buildings instead of renting them on long-term contracts? The same cannot be said for most public properties, with the exception of a few important historical sites. And how do you know if a military barracks is well maintained if the military isn’t competing with other users?

The Wealth Of Nations In Paperback By Adam Smith

The authors review their arguments in a Citigroup briefing (PDF), with an introduction by Willem Bueter, who makes his case for diverting government assets to properly managed sovereign wealth funds.

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