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1. Economics the amount by which the stock of capital (plant, machinery, materials, etc.) in an enterprise or economy changes
2. Biology the outer layer or covering of an organ, part, or organism
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



the long-term placement of capital in industry, agriculture, transport, or other sectors of the domestic or a foreign economy for the purpose of deriving profits. In bourgeois economics, two kinds of investments are distinguished: financial investments and real investments.

A financial investment is the exchange of capital for stocks, bonds, and other securities issued by corporations or the state. A real investment is the placement of capital into productive fixed capital (buildings, installations, equipment), housing construction, and goods and material supplies in the country itself and abroad. Investments are realized by private corporations and the state. Private investments are directed into sectors of the national economy where the greatest profit can be derived (primarily, industry); state investments are directed into less profitable branches, for example, into the infrastructure (the underlying economic sectors of society, such as education, communications, and transport). Private investments are financed out of internal resources (depreciation deductions and retained profits) and out of other sources enlisted for this purpose: long-term credit and the issuance of securities. The financial sources of state investments are taxes, domestic and foreign loans, the income of state enterprises, and the issue of new money.

The financial operations involving investments are realized through banks (commercial and investment banks) and other financial agencies: savings banks, insurance companies, investment trusts, pension funds, and the like, which contribute to the accumulation of huge funds that belong to the population and that are used in the interests of the financial oligarchy.

The bourgeois economic experts foresee the limits of investments not in capitalist production relations but in technical production conditions and psychological factors. Although it is true that investments create income and expand markets, the antagonistic class relations of capitalist society ultimately restrict growth. The operation of the universal law of capital accumulation leads to a situation in which, because the investments are followed by a rise in the organic structure of capital, the wealth of the capitalists is growing whereas the conditions of life of the working class are deteriorating.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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