The economy has experienced an enormous inflow of foreign capital. According to the U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis, by the third quarter of 2015, U.S. investors had accumulated $23.3 trillion of foreign assets, but foreign investors owned a total of $30.6 trillion of U.S. assets. If foreign investors were to pull their money out of the U.S. economy and invest elsewhere in the world, the result could be a significantly lower quantity of financial investment in the United States, available only at a higher interest rate. This reduced inflow of foreign financial investment could impose hardship on U.S. consumers and firms interested in borrowing.
In a modern, developed economy, financial capital often moves invisibly through electronic transfers between one bank account and another. Yet we can analyze these flows of funds with the same tools of demand and supply as markets for goods or labor.