Re David Mcknight's comtribution, (PS is the name of the world bank guy
really David 'Dollar'), this should go in some list of appropriate names
The Statesmans Yearbook, 2000, gives the following Purchase-Power Parity GDPs
USA $28,020, UK $19,960, China $3,330, India $1580. All PPP remember.
Remember the Chinese one may be very unequally duistributed within the
population, I will return to this in a minute.
So '3rd world GDP is rising at 4% a year between 1980 and 1997, but the
richest one fifth countries' GDP is only managing 1.7% a year'.
Say a poor 3rd worlder starts in 1980 with an income of 100p a year, and a
rich 1st worlder has 1,000p a year. At the above growth rates, how do their
1990, 1st world, £11.84, 3rd w £1.48.
2000, 1st world £14.01, 3rd w £2.19.
2010 1st w £16.58, 3rd w, £3.24.
2020, 1st w £19.63, 3rd w £4.80.
2030, 1st w £23.23, 3rd w, £7.11.
2040 1st w £27.50, 3rd w £10.52.
2050, 1st w, £32.54, 3rd w £15.58. Only now does 3rd w increments match 1st w
ones, but 3rd w is still half the income of 1st w.
2060, 1st w, £38.52, 3rd w £23.05
2070, 1st w £45.59, 3rd w £34.12.
2080, 1st w £53.96, 3rd w £50.50,
2090, 1st w £63.87, 3rd w, £74.76.
So it will take over a century for the 3rd w to catch up. By now democratic
institutions in the 3rd w may have ensured a more equitable distribution of
income than exists now, although the trend in 1st w states like the UK has
been for more inequaklity of distribution since 1980. Taxes have shifted from
income to purchase in the uK, and as the rich save more of their income, the
opoor spend more of theirr, tax burden has shifted from rich to poor so the
UK bottom quintile now pays a greater fraction of their income in tax than
the top UK quintile. Taxes on alcohol and tobacco especially have risen, as
has the UK VAT rate. Also globalisation has produced "more indians less
chiefs", a flatter career structure in many large co's.
In China we have a very rich coastal urban population (well some anyway, I
bet the toilet cleaners in Shanghai don't share too much of this prosperity,
though they may still be better off than a Guangdong peasant - in strictly
money terns, though the purchasing power in Shanghai may be a lot less than
in rural China). How much of this 4% growth in 3rd w incomes is accounted for
by a small elite? Some Africans, the statesmen gathering income from dam
projects, the industrialists there, dam operators, will support GATT, WTO,
etc. Thsese are the ones making money out of water privatisation in 3rd w
countries, the large landowners getting irrigation for even more cash crops
such as cocoa, tobacco, whilst poorer peasants are thrown off their land to
make way for that dam. As the dam is built, the GDP of that 3rd w state
rises, even though income distribution there has become more unequal and some
person's income has actually fallen. Further, if a peasant now becomes
landless, and has to move to a slum in the city and work at low wages in a
maquiladora plant for a rich western company, and now has tpo purchase their
food from a store - that purchase now adds to GDP whereeas home grown rural
smallholdings (now flooded) may not have counted. If forest is cleared for an
executive golf course, the golf course now counts towards GDP, the
iself-supporting activities of ndigenous forest dwellers now ousted did not
Still the landless peasant, the ousted indigenous forest dweller, are now
probably buying western-originated products, trainers, coca cola, etc,
especially after exposure to TV and other advertising. The western executives
can sit back, concsiences happy as they watch 3rd w GDP rise fast, as these
Hillary Shaw, School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT. email
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