The Wealth and Income of the People of the United States

By Willford Isbell King | Go to book overview

CHAPTER V
INCOME DEFINED

IN an earlier chapter, we discussed the various ideas concerning wealth. Now wealth and income are so closely related that great difficulty has been experienced by most writers on economics in keeping the ideas distinct. Income usually is held to consist of wealth and wealth is nearly always the result of income. In just what way, then, do the two concepts differ?

The one fundamental distinction is that income always represents a flow and not an accumulation and a flow can never be measured unless time is taken into consideration. Income, therefore, must invariably be measured as a given amount during a definite period of time.

The term income is applied to flows differing widely in nature and quality. A workman's wages, interest on loans, the rent of land, and the profits of a business man are all classified as income. A man is said to receive income through gifts or inheritance, through a rise in the value of property in his possession, through winnings from lotteries or gambling, or from the sale of products which he himself manufactures or produces from the soil. In recent years, most econo

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