Rich nations per capita GDP

Since I last updated this page (in 2012) we’ve improved our relative position in the world. I’ll update the charts soon, but in the latest data we’ve risen from 51st place to 46th, just ahead of Spain.

We haven’t so much improved, several other countries have fared worse in the economic meltdown. We maintained a relatively high level of production on the back of China’s success and the resultant support for Australia’s growth.

That happy situation is starting to unravel, so don’t get your hopes up.

Per capita GDP chart with New Zealand worst of 51 top nations

On the previous page we considered why the phrase “it’s only money” can be cold comfort.

Being hard up can be lethal and we’re working on making that state apply to ever increasing numbers of Kiwis.

Bottom of the heap

Click on the thumbnail image on the right to see a full-size version of this graph. It shows the wealth produced by each worker in the world’s richest countries. It’s not going to fill your heart with joy and delight. We’re the worst performer of all these nations. All 51 of them.

Two years previously I only had to show 46 nations. We’ve fallen a further 5 places since that time and Australia have risen 5 places. Next time you see John Key ask him why we don’t appear to be catching up.

Bear in mind that 50 or 60 years ago we were only one or two places from the top of the heap.

Mr Key may justifiably say that it’s a sign of the times and that he hasn’t had time to fix the problems. Trouble is, they haven’t done anything worthwhile to get started. Quite the reverse, they’ve made things worse by refusing to administer the prescribed medicine. Last I checked we were borrowing $250,000,000 a week to pay for student loans, finance company bailouts, Working for Families, excessive welfare payouts, unjustifiable pay increases for top civil servants and Kiwisaver bribery. How much of it is going into generating productive jobs?

Not enough.

One of the government’s first acts was to reduce funding for R&D. Insufficient spending on R&D by government and by industry is one of the reasons we’re in this mess and these people started out by slashing it! Unbelievable. They have plans to rectify that but it’s a worrying example of how little these people understand the problem.

Sure, there have been changes since these 2009 data were released. Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Iceland and Spain have had their problems. They will make comebacks. We will not. Not on current indications. Not without substantial changes to the way we’re working, spending, saving, educating, legislating, researching, planning and investing.

Whichever way you cut it, it’s looking grim.

Here are the same sorry data in a table:

Can’t find us? It’s easy; we’re at the bottom.

Note: These figures are taken from the CIA’s World Fact Book. You may come across similar data claiming that we’re higher in the rankings. That’s usually because we’re only being compared with other OECD nations. The sad fact is, we’ve been overtaken by a whole bunch of countries that aren’t even in the OECD.

Whichever way you look at it, whatever data you look at, the trend is the same. We’re slipping steadily down the rankings.

On the next page we’ll look at the consequences of our dismal performance. Why does GDP matter? Or have you worked that out already? 🙂

Per capita GDP table for 51 richest nations 2009

Coming soon; Why does GDP matter?

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