The Economic Value of Civilization

Since capitalists value everything by the dollar, let’s look at society and civilization in that way.

A Small Businessman Example

From a BBC article on Trump’s Hispanic voter ‘Doomsday,’ Mr. De La Fuente says,  “In my business 30% is owned by the United States government and 10% is owned by the state of California. I didn’t pick them as partners, but they sure know how to mess in my business.”

That’s a sentiment often uttered. Is that an accurate and fair statement?

Components of Wealth

Economists in the World Bank have collected economic data from countries around the world. The data is not precise, but it gives a relative significance to the components of wealth. In the United States, the average wealth per capita is estimated at $510,000. Approximately $100,000 comes from natural resources and the capital improvements its citizenry have made.

USA Wealth Physical and Intangible Components

The remaining wealth (over $410,000) is due to

  • 36% human labor (manpower and skills)
  • 57% to the social capital and the rule of law (efficient judicial system, clear property rights, efficient government and institutions, political stability, regulatory quality, control of corruption)
  • 7% foreign remittances

Civilization Value

USA Wealth Intangible components separated

Nearly $237,000 of the American average wealth comes from the societal institutions that support our personal endeavors. That’s 46% of the wealth.








Some social and governmental services are:

  • An efficient judicial system
  • Clear property rights
  • Efficient government and institutions
  • Political stability
  • Regulatory quality
  • Control of corruption

To the extent these services do not meet their goals, that is reflected in less than optimal American wealth.

The typical American gets 46% of their wealth through the social institutions of government, which taxes are used to provide.

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