Capital good

A society acquires capital goods by saving wealth that can be invested in the means of production. People use them to produce other goods or services within a certain period. Machinery, tools, buildings, computers, or other kinds of equipment that are involved in the production of other things for sale are capital goods. The owners of the capital good can be individuals, households, corporations, or governments. Any material used to produce capital goods is also considered a capital good.

Capital goods can also be immaterial, when they take the form of intellectual property. Many production processes require the intellectual property to (legally) produce their products. Just like material capital goods, they can require substantial investment, and can also be subject to amortization, depreciation, and divestment.

People buy capital goods to use as static resources to make other goods, whereas consumer goods are purchased to be consumed.

For example, an automobile is a consumer good when purchased as a private car.

Dump trucks used in manufacturing or construction are capital goods because companies use them to build things like roads, dams, buildings, and bridges.

In the same way, a chocolate bar is a consumer good, but the machines that produce the candy are capital goods.

Some capital goods can be used in both production of consumer goods or production goods, such as machinery for the production of dump trucks.

Capital goods, often called complex products and systems (CoPS) (Gann and Salter 2000; Hobday 2000), play an important role in today's economy (Acha et al. 2004). Aside from allowing a business to create goods or provide services for consumers, capital goods are important in other ways. In an industry where production equipment and materials are quite expensive, they can be a high barrier to entry for new companies. If a new business cannot afford to purchase the machines it needs to create a product, for example, it may not be able to compete as effectively in the market. Such a company might turn to another business to supply its products, but this can be expensive as well. This means that, in industries where the means of production represent a large amount of a business's start-up costs, the number of companies competing in the market is often relatively small.

In the theory of international trade, the causes and nature of the trade of capital goods receive little attention. Trade-in capital goods is a crucial part of the dynamic relationship between international trade and development. The production and trade of capital goods, as well as consumer goods, must be introduced to trade models, and the entire analysis integrated with domestic capital accumulation theory.