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Can Economic Indicators Be Used As Effectve Comparators Between Nations?

1220 words - 5 pages

There are many measures of economic activity. Indicators are used to review, predict and compare performance. But ultimately 'A society is judged by how it treats its poorest members,' what is the impact on the populace as a whole? Are measures worthwhile and internationally comparable?Quality of life is subjective. Attempts have been made to collate a 'domain' of items to facilitate common comparative time and international measurements. But individual circumstance, perception and cultural bias make absolute outcomes improbable. What is agreed is that both macro and environmental economic factors impinge. Whilst deviating slightly the UN Components of level of living' (1954), Drewnowski's ...view middle of the document...

This tool is not always readily available to the less stable developing nations with high inflation, government debt and low aggregate tax revenue.However Economic growth can have negative effects. Technology can render some jobs redundant. Increased Capital investment is an opportunity cost, meaning less consumption 'now'. Increased use of natural resources diminishes their lifespan and the environmental effects of excessive use of natural resources are well documented. There is also no guarantee how the wealth will be distributed. The arms race brought down the Soviet superpower.Economic development is a component of growth, indicating the shift in productive means, for example from agriculture to industry. This transitional stage is most necessary and marked in developing nations. The lower and middle-income nations account for 78% of the world population but only 16% of its income . Large labour intensive agricultural sectors, small manufacturing bases and poor infrastructure and social services (health, education and welfare) make it difficult to attain sustainable and real economic growth, failing to attract substantial inward investment. The high birth rates in many developing countries place further strain on finite social services. A 1994 survey found only 38% literacy in Pakistan, compared with 95%+ in high-income economies. What is clear is that there is no blue print for development. The variables found in all countries make each approach unique.Gross Domestic Product (GDP) is the most widely used indicator of economic activity over a given time. Primarily an accounting tool it ignores subjective, social indicators dealing in quantifiable numbers. GDP is the sum of the national product (consumption, public expenditure and investment) less expenditure on imports. It is a more reliable indicator in developed countries given the better systems for collecting tax and information. A reflection of Capital activity is the Net product, equivalent to net consumption minus Capital stock depreciation.Domestic and international demands are important factors in GDP. Increased domestic consumption leading to increased domestic productivity benefits all, having an accumulator effect on the circulation of income. However if domestic productivity cannot meet demand there will be inflationary pressures or increased imports, both detrimental to the national income generation and thus potential for improving living standards.Further investigation of GDP would be necessary to assess comparability, taking into account disparities on factors such as government and military expenditure, taxation levels, and distribution of income. Disparities of...

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