Posts tagged GDP

China on Equity vs. Efficiency

Should China slow down and focus more on Equality rather than Efficiency?

The Economist: News Article

As the gap between the rich and the poor increases substantially, China’s prime minister, Wen Jiabao, has ordered the new upcoming president, Xi Jinping, to “satisfy the people” by focusing more on the equality. Wen Jiabao has set a low target of 7.5% growth rate for Xi Jinping in order to slow down the overheated economy, lower the inflation rate, and focus more on dividing the economic pie equally for the people.

This old debate about whether an economy should focus on equality or efficiency is a ever-real problem for China as its economy is growing at double-digit growth rate, however, the gap between the rich and the poor has widen. This gap stirs the conflict between the people and the government as they get upset about the problem. There has been outburst of unrest in many parts of China in relation to the low income and the ever-increasing inflation rate.

Therefore, this political situation has forced the Chinese government to focus more on the equality. Otherwise, the government will soon lose the support from people and authority, which will result in the demise of the communist China.

I think that the Chinese officials are well aware of the trade-off of focusing more on equality. The economy will soon lose the efficiency once it had and the economic pie will shrink, instead of increasing. Surely the officials will be able to slice the pie more equally for the poor, however, this will act as a disincentive for the rich to work hard, which lead to the shrinkage of the economic size. In short term, the poor experience the prosperity from equality. However, in the long run, “The poor will get poorer and the rich will get less rich,” which is a quote by Margaret Thatcher.

This is a video of Magaret Thatcher commenting on socialist policies and how everyone will be hurt by focusing on equality.

China’s GDP per capita is only $8,394 according to the recent data from IMF (2011). Its GDP might be the second biggest in the world, however, there are too many people, which decreases the GDP per capita. UK’s GDP per capita was absolutely higher than China’s around 1990, and they were still arguing about equality verses efficiency. UK led by Margaret Thatcher focused more on efficiency. China will almost certainly decrease its economic pie if Xi Jinping focuses on equality. If I were at the decision-making position, I would certainly have focused more on efficiency. I would focus on equality later when the GDP per capita is high enough.

I understand that China has to satisfy and relieve complaints from their people to sustain political power. I am also aware that the government is focusing on slowing down the economy at an appropriate level. However, if the economy loses its economic momentum from socialist policies, the chance that China will become a developed country will decrease substantially.

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Democratic Republic of the Congo

The 10 Poorest Countries of the World: Hottez

Republic of the Congo is one of the very poor countries in the world. In fact, many people believe that this country might be the poorest country in the world. The blog Hottez has ranked the Congo as top number 1 in the most poorest country in the world.

The GDP per capita is $300 (2010 est.) and the GDP is $22.92 billion (2010 est.) which is the 119th in the world. Despite its large land (2,344,858 sq km) and large population (70,916,439) the GDP is quite small.

Population growth rate is 3.165% which is high. The data for unemployment rate is not available. It may be because that there are so many people in poverty and jobless. The life expectancy is only 54.73 years for the whole population.

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Limitations of GDP (Gross Domestic Products)

Many economists rely on GDP (Gross Domestic Products) to analyze and compare economies. However, there are several limitations of GDP as all macroeconomic statistics do.

One of the limitations is that ‘nominal’ GDPs do not take into account that there are inflations and deflations. So let’s say that there was 10% inflation and the GDP increased 10%. Some could say that GDP has increased by 10% and that is economic growth. However, it these people didn’t take into account that in fact inflation has caused this increase in GDP. So this is one of the limitation of ‘nominal’ GDP. There is another GDP called ‘real’ GDP that takes inflation/deflation out of the GDP and tries to measure the ‘true’ GDP of an economy.

The second limitation is that GDP does not measure negative externalities. For example, the CO2 emission produced by economic activity would not be considered in measuring GDP. Also, depletion of some resources are not considered either. So, this limitation is greatly criticized by ecological economists.

Another limitation is that GDP’s could change due to change in exchange rate to US dollar. Notice how GDP is calculated in USD. So GDPs of foreign countries would change due to their change in currency value. For example, Japan’s recent GDP would rose due to their strong yen. So, change in currency values could change the GDP. However, this is not the problem of United States because the country uses USD.

There is one last limitation to GDP. It is that GDP’s do not measure black markets and illegal economic transactions. For example, if some drug dealer sells $1 million dollar of drugs to some country this will not be counted in the GDP. Some people will say that these kind of economic activities would comprise only a meager proportion of GDP, however, United States, for example, has 10~20% of illegal black markets to its GDP.

In sum, these were the limitations of GDP. Despite these limitations, GDP is considered to be one of the best methods of measuring/comparing economies.

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The World’s Best Economy

After listening to all of the presentations in the class, I have come to the conclusion that Finland might be one of the world’s best economies in the world. I personally thought Hyun, Daniel, and Max’s presentation was intriguing.

I expected that Finland would have high education, high standard of living, and etc because it was one of Scandinavian countries. However, I was surprised that other countries such as Netherland had low points in the ‘happiness index.’ I heard that many people in Netherlands were depressed, which I assume that it is from the country’s gloomy climate.

I didn’ think that comparing water availability was appropriate for comparing European countries because most countries in fact have 100% clean water availability for everyone. The index should be used only when comparing developing countries like in African countries.

In sum, I personally thought that Finland is the world’s best economy after the presentation for its high HDI.

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Saving is a Good Habit, but also a Bad Habit

Japan’s $15 Trillion Not Enough to Make It a Buy by William Pesek: Click Here

Is saving a good habit? If you look at Japanese people, they save a lot. As a result of assiduous saving, Japanese households have about $15 trillion according to the Bloomberg commentary by William Pesek. Wow, $15 trillion dollars! It’s higher than United State’s GDP of $14.2 Trillion (2008). However, the author acerbically criticized that Japanese people’s habit of saving is actually harming the Japanese economy for several reasons.

As you see, the saving is considered as a leakage along with importing and taxing. Why is saving considered a leakage? It is because the money saved is not used in the economy or market for long period of time. It is like blocking a current of river by building a dam. Saving is necessary, however, excessive saving can result in deflation, which Japan is severely suffering from.

Although the Japanese households have $15 trillion, they do not use it. This is one of the major roots of Japan’s lost decades and current economic crisis. The news columnist William Pesek claims that Japanese people’s saving of consuming is causing the deflation because the market has lack of currency flowing through it. If an economy is compared to a human body, people’s lack of consuming can be compared to low blood pressure. There just aren’t any money to get the economy going. Due to low demands for almost all the goods and services in Japan, the suppliers has to lower the price of their product. And this causes deflation, which William Pesek considers it to be a big problem for Japanese economy. The market is just hamstrung by Japanese’ excessive saving.

Japanese government’s public debt of 200% (to GDP) has resulted from this excessive saving too. Because there is a big leakage (saving) in the market, the Japanese government has to borrow from banks or households and pour it in the market to make it working. If the government do not support the market, the economic crisis would have been more devastating. As a result of trying to pour the money into the market, the Japanese government’s 45% of its spending is from Japanese’ households lending. This has further accumulated the public debt of 200% (to Japanese GDP).

Why are Japanese people reluctant in spending? It is from the lack of confidence about the future. The Japanese government is to be ascribed to the blame. The government did not take aggressive measures to tackle the problem. This has resulted in Japanese people’s distrust toward the government. The government now has to take aggressive measures to tackle the economic depression and encourage the people to spend more.

In sum, saving is a necessary habit, however, it could also hurt the economy if this is done excessively, when no one is willing to buy anything and just save money. I think that the best solution for Japanese economy to rise again to for the Japanese people to spend more again. Just think. If Japanese people spends all of $15 trillion, the GDP will surpass the US GDP. 🙂 yay and Japan will have the top GDP in the world. I personally do not think that that much of spending is worth it :(. Yet, this will be the best solution to the economic crisis in Japan.

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Analysis on OECD Country Korea

Data source: World Bank, World Development Indicators

1960 1965 1970 1975 1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
$3.69b $3.02b $8.90b $21.5b $63.8b $96.6b $264b $517b $533b $845b

I have researched about Korea, one of OECD countries, on its GDP. The graph above is the ‘norminal’ GDP, which doesn’t take account for the inflation/deflation.

As you see, Korea had significant economic growth since 1975. Backed up by government’s economic reforms, Korea experienced an exponential economic growth. The chart above shows the norminal GDP since 1960 to 2005.

Korea has experienced near-bankruptcy in 1997 due to lack of foreign currencies. As you can see in the graph, the GDP plunged down from $517b to $345b. It was because they had virtually no foreign currencies (especially USD). Korean government could not pay off debts that accumulated during trades with foreign countries. They only had $2.0 billion, which was too short to pay the debt of $19.5 billion. It did have money to pay of its debt by Korean currency Won, but the lenders would not accept the weak, invaluable Korean currency at the time.

Nevertheless, the government had succeeded in paying off all the debt at 2001, and the economy recovered. This could be seen from the graph that the GDP had recovered to the previous GDP of 1995.

In 2007, Korea’s GDP hit $1.05 trillion due to increased exports. It was the year that Korea exported so much that it dramatically lifted up its GDP by significant degree. However, as 2008 global economic recession started, the GDP plunged to $929 billion due to decreased exports.

So, this was the short analysis of Korean GDP from 1960’s to 2008. Before 1960’s, the GDP of Korea was not recorded because the country’s economy was devastated by wars. So it GDP before 1960’s does not mean anything significant.

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
$13,300 $16,100 $19,400 $19,400 $17,800 $19,200 $22,600 $24,500 $25,000 $25,800

The GDP per capita of Korea has been increasing since 2000. It has almost been doubled compared to 2000 and 2009. This means that Korean people’s wealth have been double in 10 year time. In my opinion, this is rather astonishing. With increased GDP per capita, many companies would be shifting their markets to Korean domestic market because of doubled wealth of each person. The developed domestic market will solve many of Korean companies’ dilemma of too much dependency on foreign markets especially US market, which is the biggest market of the world.

2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009
10% 9% 5.8% 6.2% 3.1% 4.6% 4% 4.8% 5% 2.2%

GDP real growth rate for Korea has been declining. As you see in the graph, its showing the declining trend for Korea’s real growth rate. This low real growth rate is the concern for Korea right now, however, many experts consider this a temporary consequence of global recession.


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Analysis on Japanese Crisis

Japanese Economy is in Deep Coma

Times Online: Click Here

According to Bronwen Maddox on Times Online, Japanese Crisis resulted from extremely inefficient bureaucracy culture, lack of risk-taking, aging population, and bad governmental budget.

The article states that Japanese government (local and central) have debt over 180% of Japan’s GDP. That means, the Japanese government has to pay almost double the country’s GDP to the lenders, who are mostly Japanese citizens. So, the Japanese government is carrying the unexpectable time-bomb of national bankruptcy. Japan is the second highest in debt percentage to GDP in the world, after Zimbabwe’s 200%. However, Zimbabwe’s GDP is so infinitesimal compared to the world’s second biggest Japanese GDP. So Zimbabwe could get support from other countries, but Japan will not be able to survive the misery even if there were some supports from other countries.

The main reason for Japan’s enormous debt is the Japanese government’s bad planning for budget. According to the article, over 45% of the governmental spending was borrowed from Japanese people’s savings. This kind of spending started from 1992, so this debt accumulated for 20 years until the debt almost went up to twice the country’s GDP. United States had deficit governmental spending just like Japan, however, Obama passed the Budget Plan for 2010 to minimize the deficit and ultimately get rid of the debt. Japan is not taking any actions to minimize and get rid of debts they are carrying. Instead, the new government is increasing the deficit almost forced by its populist economic policies. If the new government does not cancel its policies and sketch a new way to get out of this misery, Japan will face more serious problem than ‘lost decades’ : a bankruptcy.

There why are Japanese government spending so much money? My answer to this question was that Japanese people did not want to use money. That is why the Japanese government has to release money to the paralyzed Japanese market. I have heard and read that many Japanese people had lack of confidence in their futures because of the prolonged economic recession in Japan (lost decades). Even if they have one of the highest GDP per capita in the world, they do not use money in fear of another economic recession. This is called leakage in economic term. So Japan is suffering from deflation because of very very low demands in domestic market. Japanese domestic markets do have money to spend, however, people simply chose not to and save it. That is why Japanese companies are having a bad time in the domestic market. To get back to the point, the Japanese government has to release money in order to get the domestic market going, or else, it will collapse.

This lack of confidence or fear about future is devastating to the economy. This once happened to Korea when it was near national bankruptcy in 1998 during the economic crisis in Asia. People feared for the future and they stopped spending but saving. This had rather devastating effect on the Korean economy. So the government had made up the mind to get help from IMF, the international monetary fund, and cold-heartedly let the lazy banks or companies to go bankrupt. The government has forced many companies and economic figures to reform. The economic reform has resulted in tons of people without jobs, however, Korea managed to get out of the trouble until 2000, which only took them 4 years to overcome the trouble.

Japan, in the other hand, did not take such daring measures to overcome the economic crisis, which started from 1992. As a result, Japan has suffered from two lost decade, and ‘is’ suffering from another losing decade. The Japanese government was not determined like the Korean government so that the economic crisis of Japan has lingered around since 1992, almost 20 years from now.

There is another factor that is aggravating the crisis in a long term. It is the low birth rate. Japan has the birth rate of 7.64 out of 1000 population, which ranks 221th in the world. It was estimated that in 20 or 30 years, there will be 45% of Japanese population with old people over 65. This will reduce governmental income from taxation and aggravate the responsibility the young people have to carry out. Thus, it will have unenthusiastic young people and there will lack of labor in the market. Every economically active young person (at 25-30) will have to take care of 2 elders. This will give disincentive to the young people to get a job. Also, it will discourage the young people not to have babies because it’ll be even more burdensome. Thus, the low birth rate gets worst. The Japanese government has to do something to give incentive for the young people to have babies. Or else, the national will fall into the abyss of low birth rate and ultimately ‘extinction’ of Japanese people.

In sum, the Japanese government has to do something. The Japanese government should first pass a new budget plan in effort to minimize the deficit, and they should pass a new law to encourage young people to have babies. Also, they should get rid of the culture of bureaucracy. Or else, Japan will confront the irremediable problem of bankruptcy.

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