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    World Economy 1998

      Economy - overview Real global output - gross world product (GWP) - rose an estimated 4.0% in 1997. And, once more, results varied widely among regions and countries. With its solid 3.8% growth, the US again accounted for 21% of GWP in 1997. Western Europe grew at 2.5%, not enough to cut into its high unemployment, and accounted for another 21% of GWP. Japan's faltering economy grew at only 0.9% with its share of GWP at 8%. The advanced countries as a whole accounted for an estimated 53% of GWP, with overall growth at 3.0%. The 15 former Soviet republics and the countries of Eastern Europe posted growth of 1.8%, reversing the long downturn that followed the collapse of communism. Growth varied widely among these countries, e.g., Ukraine at a negative 3.2%, Russia at a positive 0.4%, and the Baltic countries at a strong 7%. The area as a whole accounted for 5% of global output. China and India, with a combined population of 2.2 billion or 37% of the world total, grew at 8.8% and 5%, respectively. (China's official GDP statistics probably are overstated.) The developing countries as a whole contributed 42% to GWP with an overall growth rate of 5.7%. Externally, the nation-state, as a bedrock economic-political institution, is steadily losing control over international flows of people, goods, funds, and technology. Internally, the central government in a number of cases is losing control over resources as separatist regional movements - typically based on ethnicity - gain momentum, e.g., in the successor states of the former Soviet Union, in the former Yugoslavia, in India, and in Canada. In Western Europe, governments face the difficult political problem of channeling resources away from welfare programs in order to increase investment and strengthen incentives to seek employment. The addition of more than 80 million people each year to an already overcrowded globe is exacerbating the problems of pollution, desertification, underemployment, epidemics, and famine. Because of their own internal problems, the industrialized countries have inadequate resources to deal effectively with the poorer areas of the world, which, at least from the economic point of view, are becoming further marginalized. Toward the end of 1997 and on into 1998, serious financial difficulties in several high-growth East Asia countries cast a shadow over short-term global economic prospects. The introduction of the euro as the common currency of much of Western Europe in January 1999 will pose serious economic risks because of varying levels of income and cultural and political differences among the participating nations. (For specific economic developments in each country of the world in 1997, see the individual country entries.)

      GDP GWP (gross world product) - purchasing power parity - $38 trillion (1997 est.)

      GDP - real growth rate 4% (1997 est.)

      GDP - per capita purchasing power parity - $6,500 (1997 est.)

      GDP - composition by sector
      agriculture: NA%
      industry: NA%
      services: NA%

      Inflation rate - consumer price index all countries 25%; developed countries 2% to 4% typically; developing countries 10% to 60% typically (1997 est.)
      note: national inflation rates vary widely in individual cases, from stable prices in Japan to hyperinflation in a number of Third World countries

      Labor force
      total: 2.24 billion (1992)
      by occupation: NA

      Unemployment rate 30% combined unemployment and underemployment in many non-industrialized countries; developed countries typically 5%-12% unemployment (1997 est.)

      Industries dominated by the onrush of technology, especially in computers, robotics, telecommunications, and medicines and medical equipment; most of these advances take place in OECD nations; only a small portion of non-OECD countries have succeeded in rapidly adjusting to these technological forces; the accelerated development of new industrial (and agricultural) technology is complicating already grim environmental problems

      Industrial production growth rate 5% (1997 est.)

      Electricity - capacity 4 billion kW (1994)

      Electricity - production 12.34268 trillion kWh (1994)

      Electricity - consumption per capita 1,996 kWh (1995 est.)

      Agriculture - products the whole gamut of crops, livestock, forest products, and fish

      total value: $5 trillion (f.o.b., 1997 est.)
      commodities: the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services
      partners: in value, about 75% of exports from the developed countries

      total value: $5.1 trillion (c.i.f., 1997 est.)
      commodities: the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services
      partners: in value, about 75% of imports by the developed countries

      Debt - external $2 trillion for less developed countries (1997 est.)

      Economic aid worldwide traditional foreign aid $50 billion (1995 est.)

      NOTE: The information regarding World on this page is re-published from the 1998 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of World Economy 1998 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about World Economy 1998 should be addressed to the CIA.

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    Revised 21-Dec-01
    Copyright © 2001 Photius Coutsoukis (all rights reserved)