All Economics Terms A-Z

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Economics Terms A-Z



An asset is ANY resource that produces positive economic value for its owner - its owner being its owner as a result of a past event, most likely a transaction. There are two classes of assets, tangible and intangible, which are themselves made up of subclasses. Of the tangible variety, most commonly you’ll hear about current and fixed assets. Current assets refer to things that can be consumed, exhausted or sold, such as cash, stock, and marketable securities. Whereas fixed assets are assets that are trickier to convert into cash, like land, buildings, equipment and machinery.

In contrast, intangible assets lack any physical form; they are ethereal. As a result, their value can be harder to gauge, which can contribute to the occasional discrepancy between a company's value according to its own books, and its value as per market capitalisation. Examples of intangible are: patents, trademarks, goodwill, copyright, and trade names.