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CA drops from world’s 5th to 10th largest economy in 10 years

Monday, March 7, 2011

California’s troubling decline vs. other nations

by Richard Rider

Frequently we hear the boast that California’s economy is bigger than most countries. And indeed, that is quite true.

But there are two problems with this Golden State boosterism:

1. Too often the proclaimed rank of California vs. the other countries is outdated — and too high.

2. California’s rank has been on a downward slide over the last decade — albeit at a stately (but steady) pace.

In 2001 California moved up past France to become the fifth largest economy in the world.

http://www.allbusiness.com/accounting/3600255-1.html

Since then, things have not gone well.

This week I have seen two references to CA being the 8th largest economy in the world — on PropZero

http://www.nbcsandiego.com/blogs/prop-zero/?tag=%22Cash%22

and on Wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Economy_of_California

Would that it were true.

Our state’s current GDP (gross domestic product) seems to have stagnated at about $1.8 trillion. In just the last year or so, we’ve dropped from 8th to 10th in the ranking against other nations.

Oddly enough, the data best source I found is — Wikipedia! On another more current entry,

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_GDP_%28PPP%29

we see the up-to-date GDP ranking of the world’s nations, and we can put our state’s $1.8 trillion GDP in its proper slot. Moreover, the article offers two 1010 charts — with the countries’ GDP figures from the CIA World Handbook and from the International Monetary Fund. In each case, we come out in the same tenth place.

Now, let me be clear (works for Obama!) — per capita, California’s economy still is far better than just about any other country. My issue here is the downward TREND of our economy.

Unfortunately this ten year downward trek has been accompanied by an explosion of California state and local spending — and of debt (especially unfunded liability debt). Perhaps the only morbidly “good” news is that just about every country we compete against has, to varying degrees, committed the same sin of excessive pay and promises. I feel SO much better!

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