As a young person starting work and higher education, there is a lot of advice to begin saving and investing (the most common thing I hear is to invest into a Roth IRA but I'm Australian). Often it may also be to buy a SP500 tracked index or something of the sort.
This makes a lot of sense. Time is on the side of young people, and it provides a great way to increase a person's wealth. I think it's a fantastic idea. But if it's so great - why don't countries do it? They have even more time (sometimes) than the individual and have lots more capital. Why doesn't every government invest it's money into diversified investments in the stock market or other things? It would "generate free money" for things like universal health care. I've heard of Sovereign Wealth Funds, but they seem to be very, very small amounts compared to total budgets of most countries.
I think I'm missing something here. Why don't countries invest in shares/indices/gold/foreign property?