Friday, June 15, 2012

Is China really the most industrialised country in the world?

Well, that depends on what measure you use.
According to the World Economic Forum's World Competitiveness Report, yes: it is China with a GDP of 5878 billion USD, of which manufacturing contributed 1999billion, making it indeed the largest manufacturer (the US came second, with manufacturing contributing USD1906 billion - that was 13% of the US's GDP, which remains by far the largest in the world at USD14,658billion).

However, if you look not at the brute numbers but at manufacturing per capita, then tiny Switzerland is the most industrialised country in the world! 
Swiss manufacturing output comes in USD12,400 per capita - eight times as much as the Chinese and twice as much as the Americans.
Switzerland comes in at a not bad 19thin the world even in terms of the overall value of its manufacturing, with manufacturing output at USD100 billion.  
That's after 40 years of decline in its factory floorspace, and notwithstanding the extremely strong Swiss Franc which threatens Swiss exports, and because of which the Swiss National Bank has had to intervene in markets to try to systematically REDUCE the value of its currency!
The second most industrialised nation on a per capita basis is Japan ($8600), third is Singapore ($8500), and even supposedly de-industrialised Britain produced USD4000 per capita - almost three times the Chinese, whose 1.3 billion people produced only $1500 per capita.  
For the other leading industrial nations, Germans produced USD 7700 per capita, and the US produced USD6000 per capita - and even that is four times the Chinese.
The facts and figures above are taken from yesterday's edition of  the Avenir Suisse newsletter, which is in German.
Whether we really need all this manufacture for the future, or even right now, is a different question. 
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