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The Economics of the Vatican

I like this e-mail that I received this morning from Rick Monihan.  (I share it here, in full, with his kind permission.)

In light of your recent articles about the Pope, few of them complimentary regarding his economic or political views, perhaps a positive learning experience about the Vatican might be in order?

It occurred to me that the Vatican is a nation.  It has no agriculture, no manufacturing and imports far more than it exports.  Its primary source of income is tourism and the sale of goods at the Vatican Museum.

Yet it’s a remarkably successful nation, and quite wealthy.  The fact it imports more [physical goods] than it exports has not drained that wealth.  It seems to me that people who point to a “need” for agriculture and/or manufacturing, or even exports exceeding imports, miss a much larger picture, and the Vatican might be a good example to disprove many of these myths.


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