GDP

Protecting China’s tropics with a new kind of accounting

REUTERS/Andy Gao

Along China’s southern coast you can find a city with tropical beaches and a thriving tourist economy. It’s called Sanya, and it, like many other places in China, has seen rapid economic development over the last 15 years. What is different about Sanya is that local leaders decided that as the city embarks on its growth plan, it’s also critically important to keep an accounting of the amount of natural resources and associated ecosystem services being lost, or gained, along the way. This methodology is a form of “natural capital accounting,” or more specifically development of a “natural capital balance sheet,” and confronted with daunting challenges, the city of Sanya provides an example for China and the world of how to grow sustainably.

Taking Stock Over Time

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UK economy – Graphic of the day

British economic productivity fell in the final three months of 2014 and still remains well below its pre-financial crisis level. Today’s graphic shows six key economic indictors for the UK economy.

UK economy

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China’s growth targets – Graphic of the day

The Chinese economy grew at its slowest pace in 24 years in 2014. Provinces have in response lowered their GDP targets for 2015, with Shanghai eliminating its target altogether. Today’s graphic tracks the growth targets across Chinese provinces.

china growth

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Expenditure in R&D – Graphic of the day

Israel’s high tech industry is a major growth engine and investment magnet. High-tech goods and services account for 12.5% of Israel’s GDP and half of its industrial exports. Israel leads the OECD when it comes to R&D, spending 4.3% of GDP on it, nearly twice the OECD average. The last available full data set (from 2012) is reflected in the graphic below, showing Israel’s high (and later rising) rank in R&D expenditure.

R&D

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Global growth outlook – Graphic of the day

On Tuesday, the World Bank predicted the global economy would grow 3% this year, below a forecast of 3.4% made in June. The World Bank also lowered its global growth forecast for 2015, and suggested world GDP growth will reach 3.3% in 2016, before dipping to 3.2% in 2017. Today’s graphic breaks down their GDP growth forecasts.

growth

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Japan’s tax hikes – Graphic of the day

Japan’s economy unexpectedly slipped into recession in Q3 after the rise in the national sales tax in April, setting the stage for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to delay an unpopular sales hike planned for next year. Today’s graphic looks at wages, spending and GDP in the months before & after the tax hike.

japan tax

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Japanese economy – Graphic of the day

Cooling growth in China and an economic trouble in Europe are adding to pressure on the Bank of Japan and the government to step up policy support as the economy struggles to recover from the pain of an April sales tax hike. Today’s graphic contains seven charts on key economic indicators of the Japanese economy.

japan economy

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How do economists think about Sustainability?

Fish swim in the Mediterranean sea on the south coast of the Balearic island of Mallorca, Spain August 20, 2006. South American "red Devil" squid found off Alaska and jellyfish plaguing the Mediterranean may point to vast disruptions in the seas linked to global warming, pollution or over-fishing, experts say.   REUTERS/Dani Cardona   (SPAIN)

GDP is a traditional headline economic indicator. Every three months we hear about the latest measurement of gross domestic production. But there are limitations to using GDP as a yardstick for economic output, such as:

  • it doesn’t reflect depletion of natural resources used to achieve growth
  • it measures goods not bads (e.g. pollution events)
  • it doesn’t reflect harm by bads (e.g. overfishing which destroys a fishing stock)
  • it doesn’t measure well-being, or the human capacity to maintain a growth rate

“From an economic viewpoint, a development path is sustainable if human well-being does not decline at any point along the path; part of this well-being is provided by the environment,” explains Dr. Kirk Hamilton of the London School of Economics.” GDP doesn’t measure whether a given rate of production is sustainable given the dependencies listed above. It’s a bit like only looking at revenue in an earnings report, when a company could be losing money on every widget it produces.” (more…)

Japan’s economy – graphic of the day

Japan suffered its biggest economic contraction since the devastating March 2011 earthquake in the April-June quarter, as a sales tax hike took a heavy toll on household spending. Today’s graphic charts seven key indicators for the Japanese economy.

japan economy

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Latin America economic growth expectations fall – graphic of the day

Analysts polled in July are less optimistic about the growth prospects in Latin America than they were three months earlier. Today’s graphic shows the projected GDP growth for Brazil, Mexico, Argentina and Chile.

latam growth

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