Conclusions and miscellany at end of travels

Trip Start Jan 06, 2008
1
28
Trip End Mar 31, 2008


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Flag of Uruguay  ,
Friday, April 4, 2008

Travelling around the 'southern cone' of South America' for 3 months was enjoyable and illuminating,but also raised many questions. One of the most intriguing concerned the disparities in wealth within the countries and between them and wealthier countries. Numbers only tell a limited tale - they cannot reflect the history of each country nor provide reasons why things are the way they are - but comparisons do illustrate some relative differences while raising more questions than they answer. A yardstick that I used, not arbitrarily, was New Zealand, especially when looking at Uruguay - a country I have high hopes for.

This is what the CIA Worldfact Book says about New Zealand.

'Over the past 20 years the government has transformed New Zealand from
an agrarian economy dependent on concessionary British market access to
a more industrialized, free market economy that can compete globally.
This dynamic growth has boosted real incomes - but left behind many at
the bottom of the ladder - and broadened and deepened the technological
capabilities of the industrial sector. Per capita income has risen for
eight consecutive years and reached $27,900 in 2008 in purchasing power
parity terms.'

This is what it said about Uruguay:

'Uruguay's economy is characterized by an export-oriented agricultural
sector, a well-educated work force, and high levels of social spending.
After averaging growth of 5% annually during 1996-98, in 1999-2002 the
economy suffered a major downturn, stemming largely from the spillover
effects of the economic problems of its large neighbors, Argentina and
Brazil. In 2001-02, Argentine citizens made massive withdrawals of
dollars deposited in Uruguayan banks after bank deposits in Argentina
were frozen, which led to a plunge in the Uruguayan peso, a banking
crisis, and a sharp economic contraction. Real GDP fell in four years
by nearly 20%, with 2002 the worst year. The unemployment rate rose,
inflation surged, and the burden of external debt doubled. Financial
assistance from the IMF helped stem the damage. Uruguay restructured
its external debt in 2003 without asking creditors to accept a
reduction on the principal. Economic growth for Uruguay resumed, and
averaged 8% annually during the period 2004-08.'

With the rapid growth in demand for basic food commodities throughout the world all of these countries stand to do well as these trends accelerate. It will be interesting to watch over the next ten years. More importantly, better governance coupled with these trends should markedly improve the quality of life of the ordinary people of these countries.

Here are some numbers:

Uruguay

Geographic Area:  176,000 sq km

Arable land: 13,700 sq km

Population: 3.5 million

GDP per capita: $12,400 (2008)

Literacy: 98%

Years in education: 15

Life expectancy: M 73, F 80

Number of sheep: 26 million

Cattle: 12 million


New Zealand

Geographic Area: 267,700 sq km

Arable Land: 14,830 sq km

Population: 4.2 million

GDP per capita: $27,800 (2008)

Literacy: 99%

Years in education: 19

Life expectancy: M 78, F 82

Number of sheep: 47 million

Cattle: 5 million



























































GDP




Population




GDP per head




Area




No of people




Median Age





Billions




millions




PPP




squ km




per squ km
































Argentina

$153.0



38.9



$13,300



2,767,000



14.1



28.9


Chile

$94.1



16



$10,870



757,000



21.1



30.6


Uruguay

$13.2



3.4



$9,420



176,000



19.3



32.1



























New Zealand

$98.9



3.9



$23,410



271,000



14.4



35.8


USA

$11,711.8



297



$39,680



9,373,000



31.7



36.1


UK

$2,124.4



59.4



$30,820



243,000



244.4



39
All data 2004 from The Economist

























GDP

Population

GDP per head

Area

No of people

Median Age

Billions

millions

PPP

squ km

per squ km














Argentina
$153.0

38.9

$13,300

2,767,000

14.1

28.9
Chile
$94.1

16

$10,870

757,000

21.1

30.6
Uruguay
$13.2

3.4

$9,420

176,000

19.3

32.1












New Zealand
$98.9

3.9

$23,410

271,000

14.4

35.8
USA
$11,711.8

297

$39,680

9,373,000

31.7

36.1
UK
$2,124.4

59.4

$30,820

243,000

244.4

39
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