Every year, world economies wax and wane in size. One thing can be held for certain – all are competing for the top spot as the world’s most powerful economy. As it looks now, The USA and China will be competing for that in the following years to come.
Although there are early 200 countries in the world, the top 15 largest countries contribute to 75% of the world’s GDP, while the remainder account for the other 25%. Wealth disparity is not just a world economy problem. It is present in many of the major economies as well.
With a population of over one billion, it’s no surprise that India is a power player in the world’s top economies. In terms of purchasing power parity, India ranks in at third place with a GDP of 7.28 trillion. However, the large population of the country drags its GDP per capita down to $5,778.
Agriculture, logging, forestry, and fishing account for nearly 17% of India’s GDP, and such industries employ 49% of the population. While India depends more on agriculture than other world powers, it has a massive service industry that accounts for 57% of its GDP, and industry that accounts for 26%.
Along with its sheer strength in numbers, India remains a world power from its limited reliance on exports, a strengthening middle class, high saving rates, and its favorable demographics. In fact, India recently surpassed China as the world’s fastest growing economy.
Russia’s economy has long relied on its massive bank of natural resources, such as oil, natural gas, and precious metals. It is estimated that Russia contains as much as 30% of the world’s natural resources. The economy of Russia is worth 2.05 trillion, and its per capita GDP is $24,764.
Since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia’s economy has become an open market economy rather than a centrally planned one. The politically stable atmosphere coupled with the high domestic consumption since the fall of the USSR has created an ideal atmosphere for economic growth.
Currently, Russia is facing an economic crisis, the worst of its kind since the 1998 financial crisis. After Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea, many world powers included the European Union, the USA, Canada, Japan, Norway, Australia, and Switzerland imposed economic and political sanctions on Russian goods and travel within Russia. Additionally, inflation has drastically increased and the Russian ruble is losing value compared to the US Dollar and the Euro.
Italy hovers just above Russia with a GDP of 2.06 trillion, and a per capita income of $34,455. Italy has a diverse range of exports, the largest being cars, clothing, produce, and wine. Italy is also a leading producer of luxury goods, clothing in particular.
Italy is also facing an economic crisis, and has been in a recession for the past 5 years.The largest contributor to is the country’s debt of nearly 1.5 times its GDP. Combined with slowing economic growth, a low birthrate, and high unemployment (12.4%), this has created a major in dent in the economy that the government is scrambling to fix, with some success.
Brazil’s takes 7th place with its 2.24 trillion dollar GDP. Despite its high GDP, it has a relatively low per capita GDP of $15,153. Additionally, 21% of the population is in poverty. The country is presently undergoing a political revolution due to wealth disparity. Brazil is the largest of all South American countries.
Brazil’s major exports include soybeans, raw sugar, cars, tobacco, iron,
and petroleum. Developed services contribute nearly 70% to the GDP, followed by manufacturing (26%) and agriculture (6%). Brazil has a massive labor force of nearly 100 million, half its population.
France’s powerful 2.83 trillion dollar economy is mostly powered by its massive tourism industry. It is the most visited country in the world. It also has a strong industry, research, agriculture, research, and weapons sectors.The French economy has slowed down in recent years due to unemployment and reduced tourism.
Although France does not place demanding hours and workloads on its employees, its labor productivity is one of the largest in Europe. Employees get short hours with long lunches every day, and still enjoy a high standard of living. The average GDP per capita is $40,455. France exports goods such as pharmaceutical medications, cars, wine, cheese, and oil.
5. United Kingdom
The United Kingdom has been a world power for centuries, and to this day it retains a position among the world’s most powerful economies with a $2.99 trillion GDP and a per capita GDP of $37,744.
The economy is primarily driven by the service sector, which contributes to a staggering 75% of its GDP. It is followed by manufacturing and agriculture. Despite the fact that agricultures makes up less than 2% of the economy, 60% of food needs in the country are produced domestically. The UK’s largest exports are cars, gold, petroleum, jet propellers and turbines, and pharmaceuticals.
The most powerful economy in Europe, Germany boasts a GDP of $3.82 trillion and a per capita GDP of $44,741. Germany is most known for its massive skilled labor force and exports such as cars, machinery, and pharmaceuticals. The economy is steadily growing at a pace of 2% per year.
Germany faces some economic issues due to the influx of refugees and other immigrants, bailing out Greece, and an aging population with a declining birthrate. It faced a recession in 2008, which was narrowly avoided after Angela Merkel approved a stimulus plan to prevent several industries from failing and causing unemployment.
Japan is a country at its peak. It is one of the most developed and modern countries in the world with a very high standard of living. It has a GDP of 4.77 trillion, and a per capita GDP of $37,683. Its powerful manufacturing industry employs over half of the population, while other industries such as service, commercial, construction, agriculture, and transportation account for most of the remaining 8%.
Like several other world powers, Japan faces an aging population as well as a declining birthrate. The economy has showing signs of recession since 2008, although a total collapse was narrowly avoided after a government bailouts and stimulus packages. The 2011 earthquake also impacted the economy.
Japan’s largest exports are cars, printers, circuits, and manufactured parts. Its economy is also boosted by tourism, its service sector, and fishing.
China has long been predicted as the up and coming strongest world power, and it has almost reached that point. Its massive economy is powered by its massive population of 1.357 billion, the largest in the world. It has a GDP of 10.35 billion, far exceeding most other countries in the top 10. however , much of its population is rural and lives in poverty, the average GDP being only $10,165.
Ever since China switched from a centrally planned economy to a mixed economy in the 1970s, its economy has ballooned many times in size. Manufacturing and services each employ about 45% of the workforce, with most of the remainder employed by agriculture. Its largest exports are manufactured goods ranging from vehicle parts, phones, and other modern technology to basic clothing, toys, and electronics.
1. The United States of America
The United State comes in first place with an economy worth $17.41 trillion – 22% of the world’s GDP. Its average per capita GDP is $54,678. Additionally, the US dollar is one of the strongest in the world, and there are several other countries that also use it as their official currency.
The USA’s workforce is employed by a diverse group of industries. Retail trade, accommodation, food services, waste services, education, healthcare, finance, construction, agriculture and numerous more industries all contribute to the economy. The USA is also the go-to country for entrepreneurs unveiling revolutionary new products, which is also why the USA has so many billionaires.
The USA’s economy has recently been boosted by domestic oil, however its exports are just as diverse as its labor force. Manufactured goods such as vehicle parts and electronics, agriculture and food, vehicles, oil are all major exports.