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The opposite of a budget deficit is a budget surplus

But what is the opposite of public debt?

Instead of govt/state being in debt, having the government have extra money to keep or to lend it to banks or companies.

Say the extra money are kept Instead of being lent. What is the name of such a surplus? It would be the sum of the budget surplus for the curent year and all the years before.

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    $\begingroup$ What is the opposite of debt? $\endgroup$ – Kenny LJ Aug 17 at 0:56
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    $\begingroup$ @KennyLJ Savings? "Public savings" didn't seem to bring up relevant Google results. (it did bring up "national savings" which includes private savings too). But "public savings" does seem like the logical name. $\endgroup$ – user253751 Aug 17 at 10:18
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    $\begingroup$ @user253751: "Public savings" would be correct. The term is rare because the phenomenon is rare. Also, one can come up with various synonyms. For example, in Singapore, where such "public savings" do exist, they are not usually called that but are instead called "the Reserves" (some FAQ). I'm not sure about Norway, but it seems that there they simply refer to "the fund". (More generally, there's also net worth.) $\endgroup$ – Kenny LJ Aug 18 at 4:01
  • $\begingroup$ Public savings looks like the best term to me. Can you make it an answer? $\endgroup$ – Joe Jobs Aug 24 at 8:25
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Such government would be called net lender. However, note that for a country to be net lender it is not required that debt is zero, only that the amount it is lending is higher than its liabilities (debt). A country can chose to have some level of debt even if it is not necessary for it to have it because its revenues are higher than expenses. An example of net lender would be Norway (see here).

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    $\begingroup$ But what if the debt is zero and the government keeps the surplus money? How would you call that? (I change abit the original questions to include this) $\endgroup$ – Joe Jobs Aug 17 at 0:53
  • $\begingroup$ @JoeJobs still net lender. I was just pointing out that it can have broader meaning. $\endgroup$ – 1muflon1 Aug 17 at 0:57
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The opposite of liabiliteis, i.e. debt and own equity, is assets. The net of outstanding financial assets and liabilities is by definition zero as one party's financial asset is by definition the counterparty's debt. The net of libilities and assets in a balance sheet is also by definition zero. A government can keep assets for instance in a sovereign wealth fund. One could here mention Norway which has collected oil revenue in a govenment owned wealth fund and which by the same time runs a very small public debt.

The opposite of public debt would be public assets in so far we don't expect it to be any equity in the public balances.

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  • $\begingroup$ The opposite of assets is liabilities $\endgroup$ – user253751 Aug 18 at 15:50
  • $\begingroup$ Thanks, I've corrected above $\endgroup$ – Mats Lind Aug 19 at 6:45

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