"Pay my troops no mind; they're just on a fact-finding mission."

Nations Ranked By GDP

Though the US is in cultural, social, and economic decline, it is still the world’s overwhelming economic giant.  Only China, with a much greater population is even remotely comparable and even it produces barely 2/3 of the US total.
More than ever, I wonder how much of the story of nations is really told by GDP.
These numbers tell us nothing of America’s culture of stress, overwork, zero sum competition, and the breakdown of long term social relationships.   While no one wants to be a subsistence farmer living on a dollar a day or a perpetually unemployed youth in the Mediterranean, these conditions truly begin to resemble a constant high pressure Hobbesian war of all against all.

5 responses to “Nations Ranked By GDP

  1. Bill August 27, 2012 at 9:42 pm

    Tough day, little fella?

  2. Boker tov levanon August 30, 2012 at 1:19 pm

    There is a correlation between GDP and social and economic prosperity, but it is by no means a necessary factor. When you a have corporate elites presiding over a working caste and a growing class divide, they might as well live in different countries.
    There are various indexes that try to rate a country’s prosperity in terms of particular statistics, but one major flaw in this is that much of a country’s value is always unreported, especially in countries or regions considered to be in poverty. When larger institutions are not available, the people depend on each other, so many transactions take place between neighbors or families.This means that despite the fact that a country has a lower GDP per capita, it is probably much harder to be poor in a country with higher GDP per capita, where people depend on services and not each other.

    • Giovanni Dannato August 30, 2012 at 1:36 pm

      Insightful comment! This causes me to reflect: an exceptionally high GDP may not be an entirely good sign, just like cholesterol, normally a good thing can be indicative of a problem when present in the bloodstream at high levels.
      I mean to say: that stratospheric GDP may in part be a sign that many forms of wealth normally managed within social relationships have bled into the impersonal money economy.
      I have written before about the inefficiencies that can result when these sort of things become marketized.

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