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Social Data

The first set of data covers some basic information about the people in your country. How much money do the people have? Who has it and who doesn’t? What kind of values does the society have?

country GDP per
Malaysia 690 23 82 4 13 62 83 108 100 26  50  36 41 57  n/a My
Vietnam 475 5 83 14 1  121 2 n/a  70  20  40  30 57 35  n/a Vn
China 16,200 12 61 13 190 91 60 n/a 80 20  66  30 87 24  118 Ch
India 6,800 5 88 22 103 135 32 94 77 48 56 40 51 26 61 In
Thailand 965 14 60 8 11 89 20 29  64  20  34  64 32 45  56 Th
Indonesia 2,400 10 85 13 19 108 14 10 78 14 46 48 62 38 n/a Ind
Japan 4,700 37 138 16 27  17 45 65  54  46  95  92 88 42 n/a Jp
S Korea 1,700 34 118 15 27 15 63 54 60 18 39 85 100 29 75 SK
N Korea 40 2 n/a n/a n/a 156 n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a NK
Australia 1,140 47 100 n/a 57 2 105 1 36 90 61 51 71 21 AU
Ne’lands 820 49 121 10 9 5 18 26 38 80 14 53 67 68 44 NL
U.S. 18,500 55 67 15 536 5 108 120 40 91 62 46 26 68 29 US

GDP – International Monetary Fund’s Gross Domestic Product.

The value of all goods and services produced in that country expressed in dollars derived from purchasing power parity (PPP) calculations. Our table shows the number of dollars in billions. The larger the number, the richer the country as a whole.

The world GDP, all the countries added together, is a little over a hundred trillion dollars (or $100,000 billion). Thus, the US is about sixteen percent of the world’s economy. The two dozen countries of the European Union (EU) slightly exceed the U.S. The table above shows GDP for 2013. Last year, China edged past the U.S. to become the world’s largest economy.

per cap – International Monetary Fund’s GDP per capita.

While the GDP shows the size of the whole economy, the GDP per capita shows that same productivity per person (per capita). Our table shows the number of thousands of dollars (US$) at purchasing power parity, that is, adjusting for cost of living and currency exchange rates. The larger the number, the richer the people individually. The world average is $14,000, close to Thailand’s. The U.S. ranks 10th in the world; the Netherlands 13th. The top European country, Luxembourg, is almost double the U.S. and its neighbor the Netherlands.

One Economic Theory to Explain Everything
by Noah Smith
Bloomberg Views, January 8, 2015

Income (measured by purchasing power parity) has skyrocketed in emerging middle-class countries such as China in the last few decades, while middle-class individuals in rich countries such as the U.S. haven’t done so well. … Industrialization isn’t a smooth process, each time a new country makes its development sprint, the existing rich countries experience a growth slowdown.

Theory of Everything

Theory of Everything

Viewed from a worldwide perspective, people’s wealth has increased all over the globe. The most desperately poor (far left) have seen more increase, as a percentage of their income in 1998, than the U.S. lower middle class. The middle group, much of it in China, has grown the most. The people who were very rich before, that is the U.S. and European middle class, have seen the lowest growth of all. The world’s richest people (far right) have seen 65% growth.

inc = – income equality.

How equally is income distributed in your country? How great is the divide between rich and poor in your country? The U.N.’s GINI index measures that divide. A Gini index of 0 represents perfect equality, while an index of 100 implies perfect inequality. The table shows the rank order for each country out of the 141 countries. The lower the rank number, the greater the gap between rich and poor.

Adjusting for the size of the country, countries on the high-inequality end have a lot of rich people and a lot of poor people. The low-inequality countries with ranks numbers closer to the highest, Denmark’s GINI of 40 and rank of #139, don’t have as many rich people, but they have hardly any poor people.

The 85 richest people on the planet “own the wealth of half the world’s population” says a 2014 Oxfam report. That is, 85 people have as much as the poorest 3.5 billion – a nice economic system… for sociopaths.

Oxfam’s report Working For The Few: Political capture and economic inequality

Policies successfully imposed by the rich in recent decades include financial deregulation, tax havens and secrecy, anti-competitive business practice, lower tax rates on high incomes and investments and cuts or underinvestment in public services for the majority.

Since the late 1970s, tax rates for the richest have fallen in 29 of the 30 countries for which data are available, meaning that in many places the rich not only get more money but also pay less tax on it.

pov =poverty

The CIA has a famous Factbook series full of information they keep track of. The Wikipedia page on people living in poverty distinguishes between absolute poverty, that is, $1 per day or less, and relative poverty, which will differ between countries. Poor people in rich countries are better off than poor people in poor countries, of course. But poor people in rich countries are still faced with often insurmountable difficulties.

The table shows the percentage of people living in living below the national poverty line according to the CIA.

bil = billionaires

There aren’t that many of them, 2,325, to be exact, as of 2014. They’re almost always well-known if not downright newsworthy. Forbes magazine has a famous Billionaires List. Only two dozen countries have more than 10 billionaires. The table shows the number of billionaires in each country.

HD -Human Development

The United Nations’ Human Development Index combines three other indices: life expectancy, education, and wealth. The table shows the rank order number of each country out of 187 countries. A rank closer to 1 means a longer life, more education, and greater wealth.

HP -Happy Planet

The New Economics Foundation’s Happy Planet Index combines subjective life satisfaction, life expectancy at birth, and ecological footprint per capita. The table shows the rank order number of each country for 2012. The lower number countries, the people describe themselves more often as satisfied with their lives, they live longer, and they put less stress on the planet’s limited resources.

VT – voter turnout

The  International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance’s report titled Voter Turnout Rates
from a Comparative Perspective ranks countries according to turnout as a percentage of voting age population. The lower number in the ranking, the higher the turnout. Indonesia, ranked 10th, has a turnout of almost 90%. In the United States, a little fewer than half of the voting age population votes in national elections.

Geert Hofstede

Geert Hofstede

Geert Hofstede (right) is the world’s preeminent researcher in the field of cross-cultural characteristics. For several decades, he has measured and compared most of the world’s countries on seven dimensions of culture.

The table above shows each country’s score (always a number) for each of these dimensions, not its rank order. The text below was drawn from his web:

Power Distance Index (PDI) “The extent to which the less powerful members of organizations and institutions (like the family) accept and expect that power is distributed unequally.” – A higher score (larger number) indicates more distance.
Individualism (IDV) “On the individualist side we find societies in which the ties between individuals are loose: everyone is expected to look after him/herself and his/her immediate family. On the collectivist side, we find societies in which people from birth onwards are integrated into strong, cohesive in-groups, often extended families (with uncles, aunts and grandparents) which continue protecting them in exchange for unquestioning loyalty.” A high score indicates a country that rewards individual behavior more than group behavior.
Masculinity (MAS) High scores indicate tough, competitive cultures; low scores indicate tender, nurturing, cooperative cultures.Note that the U.S. scores high on both individuality and masculinity — the cowboy. The Netherlands has the lowest masculinity score yet a score almost as high as the U.S. on individualism. Is it possible to separate the two? Apparently.Hofstede’s web explains. He is Dutch, so he’ll have some special insight here:

A high score (masculine) on this dimension indicates that the society will be driven by competition, achievement and success, with success being defined by the winner/best in field – a value system that starts in school and continues throughout organisational behaviour.

A low score (feminine) on the dimension means that the dominant values in society are caring for others and quality of life. A feminine society is one where quality of life is the sign of success and standing out from the crowd is not admirable. The fundamental issue here is what motivates people, wanting to be the best (masculine) or liking what you do (feminine).

The Netherlands scores 14 on this dimension and is therefore a feminine society. In feminine countries it is important to keep the life/work balance and you make sure that all are included. An effective manager is supportive to his/her people, and decision making is achieved through involvement. Managers strive for consensus and people value equality, solidarity and quality in their working lives. Conflicts are resolved by compromise and negotiation and Dutch are known for their long discussions until consensus has been reached.

Uncertainty Avoidance Index (UAI) “Indicates to what extent a culture programs its members to feel either uncomfortable or comfortable in unstructured situations.” High scores indicate societies that go to greater lengths to reduce uncertainly in people’s lives. Low scores indicate a society that is more tolerant of uncertainty and ambiguity.
Pragmatism (PRA)

This dimension describes how every society has to maintain some links with its own past while dealing with the challenges of the present and future, and societies prioritize these two existential goals differently. Normative societies who score low on this dimension, for example, prefer to maintain time-honoured traditions and norms while viewing societal change with suspicion. Those with a culture which scores high, on the other hand, take a more pragmatic approach: they encourage thrift and efforts in modern education as a way to prepare for the future.

Note that the U.S. is not a very pragmatic culture.

Indulgence versus Restraint (IND)

One challenge that confronts humanity, now and in the past, is the degree to which little children are socialized. Without socialization we do not become “human”. This dimension is defined as the extent to which people try to control their desires and impulses, based on the way they were raised. Relatively weak control is called “indulgence”, a society that allows relatively free gratification of basic and natural human drives related to enjoying life and having fun.

Relatively strong control (lower scores) is called “restraint”, a society that suppresses gratification of needs and regulates it by means of strict social norms. Societies with a low score in this dimension have a tendency to cynicism and pessimism. Also, in contrast to indulgent societies, restrained societies do not put much emphasis on leisure time and control the gratification of their desires. People with this orientation have the perception that their actions are restrained by social norms and feel that indulging themselves is somewhat wrong.

Long-Term Orientation (LTO) Higher scores indicate more long-term orientation.