We’re thrilled to welcome to the blog the YesScotland campaign’s estimable post-graduate European law expert Stephen Noon, with some intriguing stats.
The International Monetary Fund has just published its latest statistics for the relative wealth per head of different countries. And, for Iceland, Ireland, Norway and the UK, they paint a fascinating picture.
The figures are based on “purchasing power parity”, which allows us to make a fair comparison between the different countries, and they show that Norway, Ireland and Iceland are all wealthier per head than the UK. Indeed, at no point in the financial crisis did any of the countries dip below the UK in this IMF wealth league table.
If we take a look at 2010, when the full impact of the crisis was being felt, the wealth per head for each country, in current international dollars, was:
The UK was $1,192 behind the ‘poorest’ of the three, Iceland, at this point. If we fast-forward to the current year, 2012, the IMF estimates are:
This year, the average UK citizen is now forecast by the IMF to be $2,478 poorer than his equivalent in ‘insolvent’ Iceland. And putting the IMF’s crystal ball to full use, let’s take a look at referendum year, 2014. What will be the relative strengths of the four nations by then? Won’t being a powerhouse big country have propelled the United Kingdom above lowly Iceland at least?
It seems not. In 2014, the UK won’t even reach the level of GDP per capita that Iceland enjoyed in 2012. The wealth gap between the two countries will have increased, once again, to $2,712 per person.
Similarly, for Ireland, 2010 saw the Irish $4,148 ahead of the UK in wealth per head, and according to the IMF that Irish advantage will increase to $5,348 in 2014.
And finally, Norway’s $16,821 advantage per person in 2010 is forecast to become $18,727 by 2012 – in other words, just short of 50% wealthier than the UK.
It’s not quite what you’d expect from listening to the rhetoric of the anti-independence parties. Perhaps they should actually go to Iceland, or Ireland or Norway – small, independent nations which, it seems, now form an arc of faster recovery.
A version of this post appeared previously on SNmr.