The Corner

The one and only.

43 Percent?


Our Readers Keep Us Honest dept. A reader queried my assertion in today’s
piece that “we currently have 43 percent of the world’s economic
production.” Surely it’s not that much, he said. I confessed that I had
lifted the number from Fareed Zakaria’s piece in Newsweek last weekend, and
trusted to the legendarily ferocious fact-checks at that magazine, and
Zakaria’s high level of respect among journos. Well, my reader went digging
and came up with this:

“It appears they pulled their number from IMF data. Go to entry
’Gross Domestic Product, Current Prices (billions of U.S. dollars) … All
countries CSV … Advanced economies CSV … Developing and transition
countries CSV.’ Click on the link named CSV next to ‘Advanced economies’.
You should be able to get CSV file into Excel or some such spreadsheet. For
2002 total for all countries there is $25000 B,
USA has $10620 B. That makes it 40% and it is highly misleading. It excludes
China, India and Russia and the rest. China is a second or third economy in
the world and India in top ten. One must do the same exersize for all
countries. Total for all is $30868 B and US part shrinks to 34%. Still a
little higher than I would expect, probably due to using prices in US$
instead of Purchasing Parity Prices. But I can live with this number.”