New Internationalist

Economics - THE FACTS

April 1984

Here are some facts and figures for you to refer to if you manage to struggle to the end of day seven. They show some parts of an economic machine that has been in a shaky condition for many years. Monetarist policies in rich countries have prolonged a severe recession around the world. Poor countries have suffered from a resulting fall in commodity sales. Yet despite all this sacrifice there is little evidence that monetarism serves any useful purpose.

Sources: IMF World Economic Outlook 1983, UNICEF The State of the World’s Children 1984, World Bank World Development Report 1983.

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Gross National Product
% of pop. below absolute poverty level 1977-81 (c)
Structure of Demand
as % of GDP (d)
Infant mortality
0-1 per '000
(a) 1981
$ per capita 1981
Av. ann. growth % 1960-81
% of income of richest 10% of pop. (b)
Urban
Rural

Consumption
Invest- ment
Inflation Rate 1970-81 av.
Public Private
Sierra Leone
200
320
0.4
37.8
-
65
11
91
13
12.2
Malawi
170
200
2.7
40.1
25
85
10
80
22
10.3
Nepal
150
150
0.0
46.5
55
61
e
92
14
9.3
Bangladesh
130
140
0.3
27.4
86
86
8
90
17
15.7
India
120
260
1.4
33.6
40
51
10
70
23
8.1
Indonesia
100
530
4.1
34.0
28
51
11
66
21
20.5
Tanzania
100
280
1.9
35.6
10
60
14
78
22
11.9
Nicaragua
90
860
0.6
-
21
19
21
73
24
14.2
Peru
90
1,170
1.0
42.9
49
-
13
73
19
34.3
Brazil
80
2,220
5.1
50.6
-
-
e
81
20
42.1
Kenya
80
420
2.9
45.8
10
55
21
63
25
10.2
Mexico
50
2,250
3.8
40.6
-
47
15
62
25
19.1
Philippines
50
790
2.8
38.5
32
41
8
67
30
13.1
Thailand
50
770
4.6
34.1
15
34.
12
65
28
10.0
Argentina
44
2,560
1 .9
35.2
-
-
15
62
26
134.2
Sri Lanka
43
300
2.5
28.2
-
-
7
81
28
13.1
Chile
42
2,560
0.7
34.2
-
-
13
75
22
164.6
China
41
300
5.0
-
-
-
e
72
28
-
South Korea
33
1,700
6.9
27.5
18
11
12
66
26
-
Yugoslavia
31
2,790
5.0
22.9
-
-
15
56
32
19.4
Malaysia
30
1,840
4.3
39.8
13
38
21
53
32
7.4
Costa Rica
27
1,430
3.0
39.5
-
-
15
60
28
15.9
West Germany
12
13,450
3.2
28.8
-
-
21
56
23
5.0
New Zealand
12
7,700
1.5
-
-
-
17
60
25
12.9
USA
12
12,820
2.3
26.6
-
-
18
64
19
7.2
United Kingdom
11
9,110
2.1
23.8
-
-
22
58
17
14.4
Australia
10
11,080
2.5
23.7
-
-
17
60
26
11.5
Canada
10
11,400
3.3
26.9
-
-
20
55
25
9.3
Hong Kong
10
5,100
6.9
31.3
-
-
8
68
30
18.4
Japan
7
10,089
6.3
27.2
-
-
10
58
31
7.4

Notes: Figures missing are not available.
(a) Following UNICEF practice this selection of Countries is ranked in descending order of infant mortality rate, since this is one of the most sensitive indicators of welfare.
(b) Estimates of income distribution come from a wide variety of sources and are not necessarily comparable.
(c) That income below which a minimum nutritionally adequate diet plus essential non-food requirements is not affordable.
(d) Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is almost the same as GNP but does not include, for example, earnings by nationals from work overseas. Consumption and investment will not necessarily add up to 100% becausefor example, of imports of goods from other countries. Almost all figures for 1981. Others 1980.
(e) Separate private and public figures not available.


Chasing after money

The graph shows money supply in the United Kingdom — as a percentage change on the year earlier. It gives some indication of Mrs Thatcher’s difficulties in trying to control it. M1 and £M3 are different lists of what counts as money (see 'making money'). The aim was to reduce money supply in order to bring down inflation. But the most significant result was an increase in unemployment.

[image, unknown] [image, unknown] [image, unknown]
Photo: Jon Blau / Camera Press[image, unknown]


Growing slower

The world in 1984 is suffering from the worst recession for over 40 years. The poor countries have been particularly hard hit. Needing to growfaster from their smaller base than the rich countries they are unlikely to increase by more than 3½ per cent in 1984. The rich countries do have an interest in their progress since they take about 28 per cent of developed country exports.

Current unemployment rates in the rich countries are: Australia 9.2%; Canada 11 .2%; West Germany 8.8%; Japan 2.6%; United Kingdom 12.5%; United States 8.0%.

[image, unknown] [image, unknown]


Raw deals

The graph shows the prices of non-oil commodities expressed in terms of what manufactured goods can be bought with them. Poor countries can buy much less with their commodity exports nowadays. Commodity prices in 1982 were lower in these terms than at any time since World War II. (See 'trading terms').

[image, unknown]


[image, unknown] Stately progress

At present 77 people in every thousand people are government employees in rich countries compared with 29 in poor countries. But public employment is growing in the developing world in response to an increasing demand for public services as the chart here shows. There is, however, a shortage of skilled manpower so the government of a poor country may employ already a majority of the technical personnel.


Balancing acts

This chart compares movements in balance of payments — the blocks — with the country’s exchange rate— the line. The balance is expressed as a percentage of GNP (right scale) while the exchange rate is an index against a collection of other currencies (left scale) taking 1975 as 100. (See 'trading terms').

[image, unknown]

This feature was published in the April 1984 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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