The Wealth and Income of the People of the United States

By Willford Isbell King | Go to book overview

CHAPTER II
WEALTH

BEFORE beginning any investigation, it is absolutely essential that the problem to be solved shall be stated in such a form as to be perfectly clear and definite. What are the facts about which we wish to secure information? Since a number of problems are to be considered in the following pages, each will be stated separately in its proper place. These problems will deal mainly with wealth and income. Just what is wealth? How does it differ from income? Different authorities define these terms in various ways. The exact definition is not so important as is the necessity of adopting some clear-cut description of each term and then consistently adhering throughout to this meaning. The ideas embodied in the definitions which follow are intended to be as nearly as possible in accord with the best usage of the leading present-day economists. Since these economists do not agree on any set form of stating their ideas, the wording is that of the present author.

It has proved impossible to give any definition of the term wealth which does not include two distinct and yet overlapping ideas. Individuals are said to be wealthy when they possess bonds, notes, mortgages,

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