The world economy can be represented various ways, and broken down in various ways. It is inseparable from the geography and ecology of Earth, e.g. ecoregions which represent different agricultural and resource extraction opportunities, and each have natural capital of their own that provides nature's services to humankind.
Economy - overview
2002 - 2003
Growth in global output (gross world product) (GWP) (in this article defined as GDP converted to US$ through estimated purchasing power parity exchange rates) fell from 4.8% in 2000 to 2.2% in 2001 and 2.7% in 2002. The causes: sluggishness in the US economy (21% of GWP) and in the 15 EU economies (19% of GWP); continued stagnation in the Japanese economy (7.2% of GWP); and spillover effects in the less developed regions of the world.
China, the second-largest economy in the world (12% of GWP), proved an exception, continuing its rapid annual growth, officially announced as 8% but estimated by some observers as perhaps two percentage points lower. Russia (2.6% of GWP), with 4% growth, continued to make uneven progress, its GDP per capita still only one-third that of the leading industrial nations. The other 14 successor nations of the USSR and the other old Warsaw Pact nations again experienced widely divergent growth rates; the three Baltic nations continued as strong performers, in the 5% range of growth. The developing nations also varied in their growth results, with many countries facing population increases that erode gains in output.
Externally, the nation-state, as a bedrock economic-political institution, is steadily losing control over international flows of people, goods, funds, and technology. Internally, the central government often finds its control over resources slipping as separatist regional movements - typically based on ethnicity - gain momentum, e.g., in many of the successor states of the former Soviet Union, in the former Yugoslavia, in India, and in Indonesia.
The addition of 80 million people each year to an already overcrowded globe is exacerbating the problems of pollution, desertification, underemployment, epidemics, and famine. Because of their own internal problems and priorities, the industrialized countries devote insufficient resources to deal effectively with the poorer areas of the world, which, at least from the economic point of view, are becoming further marginalized.
The euro as the common currency of much of Western Europe in January 1999, while paving the way for an integrated economic powerhouse, poses economic risks because of varying levels of income and cultural and political differences among the participating nations.
The terrorist attacks on the US on 11 September 2001 accentuate a further growing risk to global prosperity, illustrated, for example, by the reallocation of resources away from investment to anti-terrorist programs. The opening of war in March 2003 between a US-led coalition and Iraq added new uncertainties to global economic prospects.
Growth in global output (gross world product, GWP) rose to 3% in 1999 from 2% in 1998 despite continued recession in Japan, severe financial difficulties in other East Asian countries, and widespread dislocations in several transition economies, notably Russia. The US economy continued its remarkable sustained prosperity, growing at 4.1% in 1999, and accounted for 23% of GWP. Western Europe's economies grew at roughly 2%, not enough to cut deeply into the region's high unemployment; the EU economies produced 20% of GWP. China, the second largest economy in the world, continued its strong growth and accounted for 12% of GWP. Japan grew at only 0.3% in 1999; its share in GWP is 7%. As usual, the 15 successor nations of the USSR and the other old Warsaw Pact nations experienced widely different rates of growth. The developing nations varied widely in their growth results, with many countries facing population increases that eat up gains in output.
GDP (GWP) (gross world product): purchasing power parity - $51.48 trillion (2004), $49 trillion (2002)
GDP - real growth rate: 3.8% (2003), 2.7% (2001)
GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $8,200 (92) (2003), $7,900 (2002)
GDP - composition by sector: agriculture: 4% industry: 32% services: 64% (2002 est.)
Inflation rate (consumer prices): developed countries 1% to 4% typically; developing countries 5% to 60% typically; national inflation rates vary widely in individual cases, from declining prices in Japan to hyperinflation in several Third World countries (2003)
Derivative securities notional amount: $273 trillion (end of June 2004), $84 trillion (end-June 1998) ( (http://www.bis.org/publ/otc_hy0412.htm))
Global debt issuance: $5.187 trillion (2004), $4.938 trillion (2003), $3.938 trillion (2002) ( (http://www.thomson.com/financial/investbank/fi_investbank_league_tablearchive_debt.jsp))
Global equity issuance: $505 billion (2004), $388 billion (2003), $319 billion (2002) ( (http://www.thomson.com/financial/investbank/fi_investbank_league_tablearchive_debt.jsp))
Unemployment rate: 30% combined unemployment and underemployment in many non-industrialized countries; developed countries typically 4%-12% unemployment
Industries: dominated by the onrush of technology, especially in computers, robotics, telecommunications, and medicines and medical equipment; most of these advances take place in OECD nations; only a small portion of non-OECD countries have succeeded in rapidly adjusting to these technological forces; the accelerated deployment of new industrial (and agricultural) technology is complicating already grim environmental problems.
Industrial production growth rate: 3% (2002 est.)
Yearly electricity - production: 14,850,000 GWh (2001 est.)
Yearly electricity - consumption: 13,930,000 GWh (2001 est.)
Oil - production: 75.46 million barrel/day (12,000,000 m³/d) (2001)
Oil - consumption: 76.21 million barrel/day (12,120,000 m³/d) (2001)
Oil - proved reserves: 1.025 trillion barrel (163 km³) 37257
Natural gas - production: 2,569 km³ (2001 est.)
Natural gas - consumption: 2,556 km³ (2001 est.)
Natural gas - proved reserves: 161,200 km³ (1 January 2002)
Yearly exports: $6.6 trillion (f.o.b., 2002 est.)
Exports - commodities: the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services
Exports - partners: US 17.4%, Germany 7.6%, UK 5.4%, France 5.1%, Japan 4.8%, China 4% (2002)
Yearly imports: $6.6 trillion (f.o.b., 2002 est.)
Imports - commodities: the whole range of industrial and agricultural goods and services
Imports - partners: US 11.2%, Germany 9.2%, China 7%, Japan 6.8%, France 4.7%, UK 4% (2002)
Debt - external: $2 trillion for less developed countries (2002 est.)
Yearly economic aid - recipient: official development assistance (ODA) $50 billion
Telephones - main lines in use: 843,923,500 (2003)
Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 10,350 (2000 est.)
Internet users: 604,111,719 (2002 est.)
- Total: 1,122,650 km includes about 190,000 to 195,000 km of electrified routes of which 147,760 km are in Europe, 24,509 km in the Far East, 11,050 km in Africa, 4,223 km in South America, and 4,160 km in North America; note - fastest speed in daily service is 300 km/h attained by France's Societe Nationale des Chemins-de-Fer Francais (SNCF) Le Train a Grande Vitesse (TGV) - Atlantique line
- Broad gauge: 251,153 km
- Standard gauge: 710,754 km
- Narrow gauge: 239,430 km
Military expenditures - dollar figure: aggregate real expenditure on arms worldwide in 1999 remained at approximately the 1998 level, about $750 billion (1999)
Military expenditures - percent of GDP: roughly 2% of gross world product (1999)