Sep 17, 2017

How 74 economies have performed this century

China has had an unsurprising economic century, churning out billionaires, slashing poverty and seeking to dominate ever-more industries of the future. But how about Uzbekistan, Vietnam and Ethiopia, all of which have had their own unsung, dynamic spurts since 2000?

At a time of serious challenge to globalization and open trade, the leading economic policies of the last quarter century, we took a look at how all the global economies are performing. In the chart below, we highlight some notable cases, with an eye toward the future of the global economy.

How to read it: Each line represents the change in a country's GDP since 2000. The thickness of the line depicts the size of the economy. We used a log scale in the vertical axis to help compare countries that merely doubled their GDP versus those that grew by nearly 13 times (looking at you, Angola).

Data: World Bank; Note: Includes 74 countries, excluding those with a 2016 GDP below $50b and those with missing data.
  • Japan: Powered by booming automotive and electronics industries, Japan has been nonetheless hampered by stagnation, and now population decline. The Japanese population has dropped every year since 2010, and is on track to shrink by a third within the next 50 years.
  • Sudan: An upward economic trend belies a turbulent century, notably the breakup of the country and civil war in Darfur. In 2011, South Sudan made off with enough oil to wipe out more than half of the Khartoum government's revenue and almost all its exports. With much of Sudan's oil capacity now beyond its borders, it must adapt to a future focused on agriculture and livestock.
  • Russia: The 'Recent Slumps' group includes 3 of the 5 BRICS countries (Brazil, Russia and South Africa), the group that, in the 2000s, was thought to represent the dynamic forefront of the global economy. Russia especially fell out of the group in all but name. A combination of tax reform and high oil and natural gas prices helped its economy soar through most of the 2000s. But the 2008 financial crisis hit Russia hard, and it has yet to truly recover. President Vladimir Putin has held the economy in place by allowing the ruble to float, but Russia continues to be dogged by low oil prices and economic sanctions following the 2014 annexation of Crimea.
  • Argentina opened the millennium in the middle of a depression that saw its economy shrink faster than any other country on the chart. It contracted more than a quarter between 1998 and 2002. Argentina pulled itself out of the funk in the mid-2000s, thanks to investments in health, social programs and education. But in recent years, it has been plagued with corruption scandals, a lag in productivity, and stagflation.
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