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Monday, December 15, 2008


Fifty years ago the economy of Rhodesia was doing pretty well. Not been able to find exact GNP figures for the period but

"in 1958 the 652,000 workers in the industrial sector earned an average per capita income of $169, ranging from a high of $285 in the finance and insurance fields to a low of $104 for an agricultural worker"

While Singapore

Per Capita GNI at Current Market Prices
Year 1960 Singapore $ 1,330 US $ 434

Very roughly, bearing in mind that the figures are 2 years apart Singapore looks like it was about twice as well off as Rhodesia.

Current figures are easier to find

8 Singapore $ 49,900 2007 est
229 Zimbabwe $ 200 2007 est.

(By comparison the USA is in 10th place & the UK at 29th - though the US will have fallen since & we seem to be in free fall - Norway is the only "large" country in the top 7)

So the average Singaporean is now 250 times better off than the average Zimbabwean, also freer, safer & with a more trustworthy government & lives much longer etc.

In one way this should not be surprising. 10% growth over 50 years does come out at just over 125 times increase. On the other hand seeing the practice is not the same as understanding the theory.

50 years ago Singapore was a small, poor, overcrowded 3rd world country without resources other than an intelligent & industrious people & government committed to growth. In physical resources Rhodesia was & is far richer. This proves that sustainable long term growth is not only possible but relatively easy. That those countries trying it will far outpace those who put tribal or Luddite interests first. It also proves that all those who spend years predicting that growth in successful economies (Ireland's imminent failure has been predicted for a decade) or that growth is undesirable are doomed to be bypassed by history. It also proves that there is no god given, or even particularly likely, reason for the rich countries to stay richer. There is no reason to think China will not be able to do what Singapore has done, or indeed that Singapore will not be able to do the space based projects that I have proposed which promise unlimited wealth. Certainly the Singapore example shows that resource depletion is completely unimportant compared to what human technological ingenuity is capable of. That and the technological projects I have proposed show that growth is going to continue at, at least, present rates. Indeed the long term rate of growth has been rising suggesting we are still at the lower end of an S curve.

Comparing China & the US's per capita incomes
10 United States $ 45,800 2007 est
132 China $ 5,400 2007 est.

The US is 8.4 times better off.
Which means China's economy will have to double 3 times to match it. At 10% growth doubling takes place in 7 years. There is, as we can see, no reason whatsoever why China cannot do this. That means in just over 21 years from then assuming the US (& European) economy is in as bad a state & as under the thumb of those dedicated to preventing "continuous economic expansion" as they seem to be. That means in 2028 the average income in China will match the US now, though of course China will still have 4 times the population

Mind you Ireland, already surpassing the US, will be nearly 6 times better off than us & Russia only double us but Serbia will only be 1/3rd better off (but possibly still in a position to help decide whether the immigrant majority in London or Texas have a right to secede).

All this is, of course, easily avoidable. If we were to have non-parasitic governments with a commitment to progress or even a commitment to not getting in the way & preventing progress we could have growth matching that of Singapore or China. Zimbabwe provides a clear example of the alternative we are currently choosing.

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