1 min read

Comparing the Wealth of Nations

Not as easy as it may seem in 2023

National wealth can help policymakers, business leaders, and others make informed decisions about areas of investment and resource allocation.

For example, economic output, or GDP, is a standard measure of national wealth, while GDP per capita, or income per person, surfaces significant differences among the world's largest economies.

  • US: $76,400
  • Japan: $33,800
  • China: $12,700
  • India: $2,390

Broadening how wealth is measured

While standard measures of wealth are a starting point, broadening how wealth is measured offers a more comprehensive view of national wealth. For example, the Economist provides a more nuanced picture by comparing dollar income per person, adjusted income for local prices (purchasing power parity – PPP), and income per hour worked.


Data skepticism

Last year, I wrote about China's efforts to suppress the data showing its economy's lackluster performance.

What the latest data will show is anyone's guess, but we know something. If remotely possible, Xi would want to use his coronation to highlight China's economic miracle under his leadership. But he can't.

That he cannot even make public routine markers of economic performance is a huge tell. Like wood rotting from the inside, Xi's China may have much larger problems right below its oppressive surface.

New research shows how commonly dictators provide misleading economic data. On average, autocratic regimes report economic growth nearly twice the actual numbers.

Xi is the worst offender, but surely not the only one.