Washington Posts difficulties with math.

Discussion in 'Current Affairs, News and Analysis' started by KGB_resident, Feb 26, 2006.

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  1. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/02/25/AR2006022501399.html

    Let's look at priceless


    GDP per capita

    Canada $32,800
    Netherlands $30,500
    Russia $10,700

    Taking into accont population

    Canada 32.805 mln.
    Netherlands 16.407 mln.
    Russia 143.402 mln.

    we have GDPs

    Canada 1076 bln.
    Netherlands 500 bln.
    Russia 1534 bln.

    So respected Washington Post apparently underestimates strength of Russian economy. By the way Russia is not the weakest (from economical point of view) member of G8.

    Edited to add info for the UK

    GDP per capita $30900
    Population 60.444 mln.

    So GDP=1868bln. More than Russian GDP but the difference is not huge.
  2. The GDP per capita is still pretty pathetic.
  3. Yes, it is a hard think to compare endless plantations of tulips with missile plant. Their production could be equal (in $$) but strategic importance is 'slightly' different.
  4. I don't think its a maths issue Sergey - its a method issue...

    The Washington post have compared GDP using market exchange rates listed here... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28nominal%29
    These put Russia down with the Netherlands around 16th.

    I agree it would be better to use PPP (Purchasing Power Parity) for this particular comparison which would bump Russia up to 10th in the World... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29

    Edit to add: I can't see why producing strategic missiles instead of tulips should help any country get into the G7+1 or G8... Its not the Security Council of the UN its primarily about economic power...

  5. Fair remarks Tricam!

    I agree that example with missiles was not good. Well, let's regard natural resources: oil and gas.

    It is not fresh data.

    In 2003/2004 $1=31 roubles
    Now $1=28.3 roubles

    Annual growth of Russian economy is about 7% per year. Internal prices in Russia (alas!) get closer and closer to international ones (especialy 2 last years).

    Above it oil and gas prices was not so huge in 2004 as now.

    So, today comparison with Netherlands is not correct by all accounts.


    Netherlands - $600.8 billion (GDP official exchange rate)


    Russia - $740.7 billion (GDP official exchange rate)
  6. Yes - Russia has a lots of natural gas/oil and can be a conduit for even more from Central Asia and therefore Russia is of some importance. Is that what you want to confirm? As for membership of the G8 - hmmm...

    I completely don't accept your argument that the Rouble exchange rate has changed since 2003/4 and therefore your economy is suddenly bigger. The whole reason why exchange rates are not used when comparing GDP is because exchange rates tend to vary. That's why economists go to the trouble of getting the PPP figure - its more stable. If the rouble were to weaken tomorrow does that mean your economy shrank? No, of course not.

    Anyway Sergey - Surely the Netherlands isn't all that bad a country to be compared too? I hear its quite a nice...

    And if this is a my Daddy is bigger than your Daddy conversation then the bottom line is:
    Guess which country is which?

  7. Tricam!

    G7 was The Snow-White and 6 dwarfs. The Snow-White hoped that 7th dwarf would be a good possession. Alas it is too independent. So present doubt in G8 membership are politically (not economically) motivated.

    As we saw Russian economy looks not bad from this angle.

    Yes, Netherlands is a nice country.

    You refer to 2001, why not to 1901? We speak about current situation, about Russian economy today. The article in WP was pulished in 2006.

    And what is a goal of this 'economical aid'. Who namely is supporting? USAID supports 'independent' reseachers, 'independent' jounalists, numerous NGOs (how many 'stones' are in using?). Russia doesn't ask this 'support'.


    'Greater freedom' = following American policy.
  8. I used the 2001 figures because they are readily available from the CIA World Factbook. I'm not going to bother trying to dig out more recent figures - I'll leave that to you if believe there has been some sudden massive drop in subsidies... And why exactly are you being paid to look after your own nuclear weapons? Do you, like the Netherlands, contribute money to developing nations?

    Is your point about USAID that it is subverting the Russian state? If so I'm sure there is a certain amount of that going on but looking at this page http://www.usaid.gov/locations/europe_eurasia/countries/ru/index.html tells me there is a lot of work done on tuberculosis and HIV/AIDS too.

  9. Tricam!


    As to USAID then it would be a stupid thing to reject help. However in many case Americans act mainly in their interests. Btw, Russia proposed help during hurricane Catrina. It was rejected by USA. What could we do?

    But we went too far from my main point: now Russia has fast growing economy and its size is compartible (at least by PPP) with sizes of other members of G8 excluding USA and Japan.

    For example I don't think that Canadian economy is much stronger than Russian one.
  10. Good to see the growth rate, but so much of the growth is fueled by oil. When I lived in St. Petersburg the exchange rate was around what it is now. Russia still has a long way to go, I was surprised at how much of the wealth is concentrated in Moscow while much of the rest of western Russia is quite poor (this was in 2000). I have a friend who is a professor at a college there that makes something like $60 a month. Unbelievable.
  11. Yes, right, there are the rich and the poor in Russia (as in any country). Alas, teachers, professors in universities, medics, Russian military are among the poor.

    But Russia is changing rapidly. Russia in 1994, 2000, 2006... In fact they are absolutely different countries.

    My daughter is a student of Moscow's state juridicial academy and I pay for it $4000 per year without any problem. In 2000 it would be a visible burden, in 1994 it would be unthinkable for me.

    Yes Russia still has a long way to go but comparison with Netherlands is rather a joke. However stereotypes die hard.