August 10, 2014
In case you haven’t already seen it, here’s an interesting chart from the International Comparison Project at the World Bank via Matt Yglesias at Vox. Representing GDP on the vertical scale and population size on the horizontal allows for a grasp on information that is less abstract and more intuitive.
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Posted by Chuck Dupree at August 10, 2014 04:37 PM
One can take many lessons from such a graph, of course. I imagine there are capitalists looking at more detailed versions as a map of “national markets”, i.e. populations, to exploit next. But it also puts in perspective that China soon becoming the largest economy doesn’t mean its standard of living (as measured by GDP per capita) has even risen to the world average. Largest is a measure of breadth as well as height.
I looked at this graphic earlier and for some reason it disturbed me. I think the reason for that is, forgetting the standard of living issue, that the term Gross Domestic Product is only appropriate in the sense that it is gross. Domestic, how much of that "domestic" is a result of US companies activities offshore, a large part I would assume, hence why is it domestic? Product, how much of that product is really only ones and zeroes moving around in the world of finance and Wall St.? Calling these transactions a product seems nihilistic to me. Early Christianity forbade making interest as it was ex nihil, something from nothing. Well they have changed their tune, but calling transactions in finance a product does seem a stretch to me. I wonder what part of our GDP really belongs to China or any of the other off shore havens.