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Sunday, November 13, 2005


Last year I did a short article with this title that became one of my most refered to so I am taking the hint & doing a new one. Once again the figures are cribbed from GeographyIQ.
These are the worlds top economies by dollar values:

See Growth Rate
1. United States--10,990,000,000,000 $...3.10%
2. China---------- 6,449,000,000,000 $...9.10%
3. Japan-----------3,582,000,000,000 $...2.70%
4. India-----------3,033,000,000,000 $...8.30%
5. Germany---------2,271,000,000,000 $..-0.10%
6. United Kingdom--1,666,000,000,000 $...2.20%
7. France----------1,661,000,000,000 $...0.50%
8. Italy-----------1,550,000,000,000 $...0.40%
9. Brazil----------1,375,000,000,000 $..-0.20%
10. Russia---------1,282,000,000,000 $...7.30%
11. Canada-----------958,700,000,000 $...1.70%
12. Mexico-----------941,200,000,000 $...1.30%
13. Spain------------885,500,000,000 $...2.40%
14. Korea, South-----857,800,000,000 $...3.10%
As opposed to last year:
1.United States$10,450,000,000,000
7.United Kingdom$1,528,000,000,000
9.Russia $1,409,000,000,000
11.Korea, South$941,500,000,000
There must be what accountants call a balancing factor here since there is a disparity of some of the figures with the growth rates - this may be currency fluctuations.

So Britain has gone from a fraction of a per cent below France to a fraction above but still nowhere near being the 4th (or 3rd) as our politicians repeatedly boast.

The average of growth rates here would be about 3% but since the 4 largest are all doing better than that I think the figure for world growth of 5% reported elsewhere is probably right. The often reported claim that the UK is a successful economy clearly relies on comparison overwhelmingly with our partners in the original EU states (Germany, France & Italy) whose performance could politely be called abysmal. The failure of the EU is obvious. By world standards the UK is doing badly.

For anybody who wants to calculate how things are changing the simple way to calculate the doubling time of an economy is how long it takes the growth rate per annum to reach 72 - this is because growth is a compound function. Thus China will double its economy compared to the US in < 72/(9.1 - 3.1) = 12> 12 years at which point it will be comfortably larger than the US.

Newspapers which spend acres of newsprint on reporting where Scotland is in the world football rankings (not quite last) do not report this stuff. Even the posh ones mention it purely on the business pages & don't go into such detail. Yet there is no real reason to believe that most people aren't at least as interested in our economic as football performance. Football is said to be more important than a mere matter of life & death but our standard of living affects everybody every day. You may remember that after Bush 1 beat the Iraqis he lost the election to the charmless but true slogan "its the economy stupid". It may be that this is an example of our media choosing to feed us "bread & circuses" to distract us from the fact that the "great & good" who run the place are so clearly bad at the job.

& here to depress you further are the figures for per person GDP, since size doesn't matter on per capita figures (quite the opposite in fact since I think some the smaller countries here are doing well on artificial banking figures) we are doing worse here:
Rank Country Value / Unit
1. Luxembourg-----55,100 $
2. Norway---------37,800 $
United States---37,800 $
4. Bermuda--------36,000 $
5. Cayman Islands 35,000 $
6. San Marino-----34,600 $
7. Switzerland----32,700 $
8. Denmark--------31,100 $
9. Iceland--------30,900 $
10. Austria-------30,000 $
11. Canada--------29,800 $
12. Ireland-------29,600 $
13. Belgium-------29,100 $
14. Australia-----29,000 $
15. Hong Kong-----28,800 $
16. Netherlands---28,600 $
17. Japan---------28,200 $
18. Aruba---------28,000 $
19. United Kingdom-27,700 $
20. France--------27,600 $
Germany---------27,600 $
22. Finland-------27,400 $
23. Monaco--------27,000 $
24. Sweden--------26,800 $
25. Italy---------26,700 $
At least at 19th place we are now ahead of Germany & France, but again this is because they are doing badly. We are well behind Ireland & Hong Kong, both of which used to be poor colonials.

Ireland, as I have said elsewhere, provides a fine example of how we could be doing if we just made the effort. Their average growth of 7% over the last 15 years could have been achieved by us simply by getting government taxes & regulations off the back of industry. Because growth is a compound function the universe is extremely unforgiving of those countries which abandon progress.

Clear evidence, then, that we should either leave the EU or demand a net hand-out proportionately equal to Ireland's?
I agree with you about the EU (or at least becoming an associate member like Norway or joining NAFTA if it was on offer since being part of a free trade area is important).

Ireland's success was due to unleashing enterprise not to EU hand-outs, despite implication to the contrary by the PC. Check out this very interesting article on Techcentralstation or my take on it here on 4th April archive.

It would be quite nice to think that subsidy produced success since Scotland benefits from the Barnett formula more than Ireland ever did from the EU - unfortunately it doesn't work that way.
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