Adam Smith traced the source of opulence of nation, which he called capital, to the uninterrupted efforts of every man to better his condition. Today we define wealth as the item that has some economic substance, a value such that this wealth can be used for several intended purposes, in modern economics, for consumption as theoretically glorified by the Utility Maximization Theorem (Arrow-Debreu). In this chapter, the reader is introduced to the modern idea of net wealth held by households and entities. The amount of wealth as at 2017 is given as US$ 250 trillion after all liabilities are subtracted from total wealth. In this context, Calvin’s contribution of wealth as God’s gift to man is referred to, which provides a continuity with Islam’s claim that wealth belongs to God, and He apportions who begets it.
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This chapter analyses the special nature of banks, and how the importance of the banking sector and its stability overlaps with the preservation of competitive banking markets. Banks have a unique standing in the economy, and are regarded as more vulnerable to instability than other firms as they provide liquidity and are involved in inter-bank lending markets and the payment system. Due to the systemic nature of banks, governments try to avert a crisis that can affect the whole banking sector by ensuring that banks which are ‘too big to fail’ remain sustainable. Such intervention has a distortive effect on competition, as it prevents ‘self-correction’ of the market. State aid measures that characterized the response of regulators in the recent financial crisis were based on the premise of the special nature of the banking sector and its importance to the economy. In addressing the special nature of banks the chapter looks into the approach adopted towards banks under State aid control, tackling issues such as ‘too-big-to-fail’ and the BRRD and SRM.
Edited by Benton E. Gup
Evaluating Public–Private Partnerships and Other Procurement Options
Darrin Grimsey and Mervyn K. Lewis
This introductory chapter begins by considering the infrastructure challenge posed by what former US Treasury Secretary Larry Summers calls the ‘Age of Secular Stagnation’ and International Monetary Fund managing director Christine Lagarde terms the ‘new mediocre of growth’. Both advocate increased infrastructure spending as the solution, but there are considerable differences between infrastructure policies in three of the largest economies. After decades of neglect, the United States and even Germany are saddled with once advanced, but increasingly outmoded infrastructure assets, while China keeps on building and has become an exemplar of modern urban transit, with ports, expressways, railways, subways, airports, and by far the world’s largest high-speed rail network. Nevertheless, a 2016 Oxford study challenges the efficacy of China’s infrastructure-led growth strategy. Upon examination, however, their study has serious defects and, contrary to their arguments, China’s infrastructure megaprojects appear less wasteful than those authors claim, and they have laid the foundations for Chinese growth, supported by a later case study.