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Assessing Economic Performance Essay

1260 words - 6 pages

Course Project: Assessing Economic Performance

The United States (US) is considered to be the world's largest and most technologically powerful economy in the world. The US has an estimated GDP of $15.1 trillion, and the per capita GDP, adjusted by purchasing power parity, of $48,100 US dollars, according to the CIA World Factbook, is the among the world's highest. The United States is a federal constitutional republic composed of a mixed economy, in which extremely powerful private individuals and business firms make most of the decisions, and the federal and state governments buy needed goods and services predominantly in the private marketplace. A central feature of the US economy is ...view middle of the document...

Economic reforms in the 1990s privatized most industry, with notable exceptions in the energy and defense-related sectors. Nonetheless, the rapid privatization process turned over many state-owned firms resulting in politically connected oligarchs, which has left equity ownership highly concentrated similar to the primary powers of the US. In 2011, Russia became the world's leading oil producer, surpassing Saudi Arabia. Additionally, Russia is the second-largest producer of natural gas with the world's largest natural gas reserves, the second-largest coal reserves, and the eighth-largest crude oil reserves. Russia is the third-largest exporter of both steel and primary aluminum. Other less competitive heavy industries remain dependent on the Russian domestic market with industries related to science and technology accounting for the more prevalent dynamic sectors of the economy. However, Russia's reliance on commodity exports makes it vulnerable to economic cycles that follow the highly volatile swings in global commodity prices.

When examining the Russian economy, the first thing that needs to be considered is the sustainability of the current growth trends. Russia's long-term challenges include a shrinking workforce, a high level of corruption, difficulty in accessing capital for smaller, non-energy companies, and poor infrastructure in need of large investments. Is the Russian government pursuing policies that are likely to constrain growth? How much does corruption hinder economic expansion? How are Russian leaders weighing the trade-offs of investing in infrastructure modernization, growing social welfare demands, and military modernization? Is the development and distribution of Russia’s vast energy resources driven more by political or commercial factors?

The fundamental question the US needs to answer concerns the degree to which Russian economic resurgence presents an opportunity or a threat to its interests. The US faces long-term problems include inadequate investment in deteriorating infrastructure, rapidly rising medical and pension costs of an aging population, sizable current account and budget deficits including significant budget shortages for state governments, energy shortages, and stagnation of wages in lower income families. To what extent should the United States encourage deeper integration and interdependence? In the realm of security, US policy toward Russia today broadly consists of contradictory tendencies toward engagement and containment. Both the US and Russia are at or near the same forefront in technological advances, especially in computers, medical, aerospace, and military equipment. However, these tendencies are also very relevant when considering the economic future of the Russian Federation. With a highly advanced counterintelligence operational force active throughout the mainstream media working diligently to fabricate information, these questions will never end. The US may be considered as the most...

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