The concept of “economic moats” came from a 1999 Fortune article by Warren Buffett:
The key to investing is [. . .] determining the competitive advantage of any given company and, above all, the durability of that advantage. The products or services that have wide, sustainable moats around them are the ones that deliver rewards to investors.
Economic moats remain tethered to investing: A bigger moat makes a stock a better bet. But the implications are broader, for companies large and small.