In contrast to real assets are financial assets such as stocks and bonds. Such securi- ties are no more than sheets of paper or, more likely, computer entries, and they do not contribute directly to the productive capacity of the economy. Instead, these assets are the means by which individuals in well-developed economies hold their claims on real assets. Financial assets are claims to the income generated by real assets (or claims on income from the government). If we cannot own our own auto plant (a real asset), we can still buy shares in Ford or Toyota (financial assets) and thereby share in the income derived from the production of automobiles.
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