Most governments know much about their debt but little about their assets. In the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, as governments mobilized to manage their public debt, they largely ignored their public assets. Some countries, such as the Baltic states and Portugal, took steps to appraise their wealth, but most did not. The United States, for example, chose not to participate in a 2011 initiative by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development to evaluate the size and composition of state-owned firms in member countries.
But a better understanding of public commercial assets—defined as government property that generates profit, such
Source URL: https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/2014-11-24/hidden-assets