This book extends and builds upon Where Is the Wealth of Nations? Measuring Capital for the 21st Century (World Bank 2006), which reported comprehensive wealth accounts for more than 120 countries. As in that book, we conceive of development as a process of building and managing a portfolio of assets. The challenge of development is to manage not just the total volume of assets—how much to save versus how much to consume—but also the composition of the asset portfolio, that is, how much to invest in different types of capital, including the institutions and governance that constitute social capital.
The Changing Wealth of Nations adds several new components to the previous work. Most important, because wealth accounts are now available over a 10-year period, 1995 to 2005, it is possible to go beyond a snapshot of wealth at a point in time and provide the first intertemporal assessment of global, regional, and country performance in building wealth and achieving sustainable development.