World: is your country growing fast enough?

People aspire to ever higher living standards, so where will grow fastest by 2016.

Taking GDP data as of April 2011 edition of the IMF World Economic Outlook, the online cyclopedia Wikipedia notes that these selected countries' economies will grow by these amounts between 2010 and 2016:

Algeria by 41.82%
Argentina by 91.41%
Australia by 37.37%
Brazil by 58.01%
Canada by 31.09%
China by 90.88% 
Egypt by 62.79%
Estonia by 30.14%
France by 24.34%
Germany by 18.48%
India by 80.58%
Indonesia by 89.12%
Italy by 21.09%
Japan by 19.80%
Malaysia by 52.29%
Mexico by 43.91%
New Zealand by 28.78%
Nigeria by 83.78%
Pakistan by 63.15%
Philippines by 53.34%
Poland by 46.90% 
Russia by 220.96%
Singapore by 43.20%
South Africa by 40.23%
South Korea by 57.46%
Spain by 20.82%
Turkey by 56.26%
Thailand by 56.34%
United Kingdom by 43.29%
United States by 28.31%
Vietnam by 87.63%.

Many will grow from a low base; others which have experienced high living standards in the past are slipping back - soon to discover they'll be overtaken by the unexpected.  Sobering stuff.  Spot the predicted Russian perfomance!

It means that before we all realise it, countries which in the past have been cheap holiday destinations, or suppliers of cheaper products to fuel consumer booms in richer countries will have such high living standards that their workers' wages will cause governments to morph their economies into higher-tech models.

Foreign made cheap products will become scarcer and inflation will rise as stuff has to be made locally again.  This might reduce carbon emissions a bit, but it won't be so popular when the huge Chinese internal economy means that most locally produced products will stay onshore.

Some investment banker, when recently being interviewed, predicted for example that in a few years' time China will be more like America (importing) and America more like China (exporting).  One can see why.

Suddenly, richer Indonesians or Malaysians will regularly visit Sydney, Auckland, London, Paris or San Francisco in the same way as the Japanese have done in the past.   With a per capita GDP of c. US$19,500 Malaysians will be richer in 2016 than Estonians are today.  And The Economist reckons that Estonia has been demonstrating "exceptionalism".  In July 2011, the British weekly noted, "plunging unemployment, rocketing growth, soaring exports and a budget surplus: that is the story of Estonia ... this burst of good news shows not only the virtues of flexibility and austerity (a sensitive subject, as other euro countries taste the same medicine); it also gives heart to Latvia and Lithuania."  Will The Economist be writing a similarly glowing report on Malaysia in a few years? 

There's a wake-up call in these figures if anyone wants to hear it.

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  1. I would have to ask about the accuracy of past IMF forecasts - I'm always skeptical of claims of exceptionally high growth figures. They do have a history of getting it wrong, particularly for developing nations.

    NZ in the table above is towards the bottom of the range, yet to grow 28.78% in the next five years would require sustained annual growth during that time of 4.3%. Russia's forecast requires 21.4% per year or them, the UK about 6.2%, each year.

    I might point our friends at the IMF at the other WEO (the one at, and politely ask what drugs they are on.

    If I were somewhat more uncharitable, I'd recommend they watch Dr Albert Bartlett's classic lecture "Arithmetic, Population, and Energy":

    "The greatest shortcoming of the human race is our inability to understand the exponential function."

  2. According to Wikipedia, values are given in millions of US Dollars which have not been adjusted for inflation. Figures were taken from the IMF's World Economic Outlook (WEO) Database, April 2011 Edition. For New Zealand the figures are: 140,434 (2010), 153,252 (2011), 157,877 (2012), 165,290 (2013), 170,059 (2014), 175,745 (2015), reaching 180,844 by 2016. Making, by my calculations, an increase over the seven years of 28.77508%, or rounded to 28.78%. If I'm inaccurate, please let me know. This projection of 28.78% could be achieved if the growth rate calculations were annnually compounded, perhaps?

  3. Nope, that looks right to me. Starting with 140,434 in 2010 and applying a 4.3% increment each year results in 180,792 in 2016, which is close enough to 180,844.

    This is a (compounded) steady annual rate of about 4.3%, which doesn't look likely to this pessimist.

  4. Of course, having now re-read your comment, the words "have not been adjusted for inflation" have a rather strong bearing on the numbers quoted. On that basis, 28% is not likely to be as strong a performance, of course!