The lost money was never there in the first place

From that perspective, it’s easy to see “where the money went:” It never existed in the first place. If my stock had a quoted price of $100 on an exchange, and that price fell to $75 per share, that means the forecast of the present value of future earnings for that company fell. The stock is a claim on the future stream of profits; the estimated value of the stream fell because of new taxes, new regulations, changes in consumer preferences, or the invention of a new competing product.

So: “Wealth is not money, it’s access to things, and to services.”

Original source: Where Did The Wealth Go?