Tuesday, September 14, 2010

America’s Dominance of Global Wealth Is Slipping

The United States remains by far the nation with the most wealth, with 101,762 euros ($130,764) per person in stocks, bank accounts and insurance, Allianz researchers report. Some 39 percent of the world’s wealth belongs to Americans, while Western Europe accounts for another 31 percent.

But American dominance of the world’s financial assets is slipping. United States wealth has plunged 12 percent since 2007.

Only Greece, trying to dig its way out of a fiscal crisis, has seen a bigger decline in wealth since the financial crisis began—14 percent, according to Allianz.

What's behind the U.S. decline? The downturn in the business cycle for sure, but also the cloud over the regulatory environment. "Regime uncertainty" is how Robert Higgs would explain it. Businesses just don't know what will hit them next, so they don't expand and don't hire.

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