Big Shifts in the Economies of Nations, 2012-2017

The daily and weekly news informs us, relentlessly, of the economic progress, or lack thereof, in the major nations and groups of nations (the European Union, in particular), and occasionally in the ‘developing nations.’

It is difficult to keep all the reports in mind, as they accumulate, to develop a clear picture of trends. So, a look back at a five year period may help to create such a picture.

Here are two simple charts measuring ‘gross domestic product’ (GDP) in selected countries and the EU–that is, the top ten in production.


  1. The EU, the USA, and China together produce around 60% of all the measured goods and services in the world.
  2. The ‘top ten’ (which includes the 28 countries of the European Union) produce between 80% and 85% of all the measured goods and services in the world.
  3. Russia, always in the news regarding power plays and asserted international mischief, generates 2%, around the same as Canada.
  4. There are 195 member states in the United Nations; 158 of these, in the aggregate, produce no more than 20%, less than either the EU or the USA.
  5. China’s share of world GDP has increased around 75% in these five years, while world GDP has increased around 15%.—


  1. In the five years studied here, the only ‘top ten’ polities gaining ground are those in the EU (that is, the average of these 28 countries), Brazil, the USA, India and China. Those in this list having lost ground are Mexico, Canada, Australia, Russia, and Japan. All the other countries in the world lost ground (in the average of these nations) at around 8% over the five years.
  2. I see an imbalance in the productivity (I will call it ‘commercial opportunity’) among nations, and therefore a power imbalance which may, if these trends continue, destabilize relations between nations and groupings of nations.
  3. Perhaps we measure only that which is conveniently measurable, not other important things which are not measured or not measurable, which tend to ameliorate any negative measured trends in any given county or groupings of countries.


I don’t feel good about the trends represented here, nor our dependence on only a few measured thing to tell us how we, in any given polity, are performing for the protection and general welfare of the people.

There ARE other measurements to assess and rank the countries in the world, but I haven’t examined them and have no opinion of these:

Social Progress Index

Human Development Index

Open Government Index

Index of Economic Freedom

The Legatum Prosperity Index

About Ron Pavellas

Expatriate American living in Sweden with wife. Retired from employment in the USA. Currently focused on blog articles, memoirs, and creative writing.
This entry was posted in Demography, Government & Politics, wealth and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Big Shifts in the Economies of Nations, 2012-2017

  1. Vasil Georgiev says:

    Hi Ron, Thank you for the interesting new post.I congratulate you for your constant interest in this field of social science. See you tomorrow, Vasil

    Liked by 1 person

  2. John P Stathoulis says:

    A thought-provoking post and a model of clarity, thank you Ron.

    Liked by 1 person

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