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06/02/2006

Spreading the Wealth?

With OPEC in the news as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
hosts the latest meeting among the eleven members of the oil
cartel, I thought we’d take a look at some relevant statistics, none
of which are particularly positive for OPEC nations.

Index of Economic Freedom

Put out by The Heritage Foundation [heritage.org], ‘economic
freedom’ is defined as “the absence of government coercion or
constraint on the production, distribution, or consumption of
goods and services beyond the extent necessary for citizens to
protect and maintain liberty itself. In other words, people are
free to work, produce, consume, and invest in the ways they feel
are most productive.”

The Heritage Foundation then equally weights ten factors:

Trade policy
Fiscal burden of government
Government intervention in the economy
Monetary policy
Capital flows and foreign investment
Banking and finance
Wages and prices
Property rights
Regulation
Informal market activity

Following are 2006 selected rankings (161 countries)

1. Hong Kong
2. Singapore
3. Ireland
4. Luxembourg
5 (tie). Iceland United Kingdom
7. Estonia
8. Denmark
9 (tie). Australia New Zealand United States

Rank of OPEC’s 11 member states

50. Kuwait
62. Saudi Arabia
65. United Arab Emirates
78. Qatar
119. Algeria
134. Indonesia
146. Nigeria
152 (tie). Libya Venezuela
156. Iran
Unranked Iraq

The rank for leading non-OPEC oil ‘exporters’

5. United Kingdom
12. Canada
30. Norway
60. Mexico
122. Russia

GDP per capita [2005 est.]

G-7 [Russia further below]

United States ..$42,000
Canada .........32,900
United Kingdom ..30,900
Japan 30,700
France ..30,000
Germany ..29,800
Italy ..28,400

World .....9,300

OPEC

UAE ....$29,100
Qatar .....26,100
Kuwait ..22,800
Saudi Arabia .....12,900
Libya .......8,400
Iran ..8,100
Algeria .....7,200
Venezuela ....6,500
Indonesia .3,700
Iraq ..3,400
Nigeria .....1,000

Others (major producers or users of oil)

South Korea .$20,400
Russia 10,700
Mexico ...10,100
Brazil ....8,400
China ....6,300
India .....3,400

So you look at all this and it’s pretty easy to draw some major
conclusions; most oil producing nations have failed to take
advantage of soaring revenues the past few years and there is a
crying need to reform their economies, which should then lead to
the needed diversification and a better life for the people.

[Source for the above statistics: CIA World Factbook / cia.gov;
Energy Information Administration]

Wall Street History will return next week.

Brian Trumbore



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-06/02/2006-      
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Wall Street History

06/02/2006

Spreading the Wealth?

With OPEC in the news as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez
hosts the latest meeting among the eleven members of the oil
cartel, I thought we’d take a look at some relevant statistics, none
of which are particularly positive for OPEC nations.

Index of Economic Freedom

Put out by The Heritage Foundation [heritage.org], ‘economic
freedom’ is defined as “the absence of government coercion or
constraint on the production, distribution, or consumption of
goods and services beyond the extent necessary for citizens to
protect and maintain liberty itself. In other words, people are
free to work, produce, consume, and invest in the ways they feel
are most productive.”

The Heritage Foundation then equally weights ten factors:

Trade policy
Fiscal burden of government
Government intervention in the economy
Monetary policy
Capital flows and foreign investment
Banking and finance
Wages and prices
Property rights
Regulation
Informal market activity

Following are 2006 selected rankings (161 countries)

1. Hong Kong
2. Singapore
3. Ireland
4. Luxembourg
5 (tie). Iceland United Kingdom
7. Estonia
8. Denmark
9 (tie). Australia New Zealand United States

Rank of OPEC’s 11 member states

50. Kuwait
62. Saudi Arabia
65. United Arab Emirates
78. Qatar
119. Algeria
134. Indonesia
146. Nigeria
152 (tie). Libya Venezuela
156. Iran
Unranked Iraq

The rank for leading non-OPEC oil ‘exporters’

5. United Kingdom
12. Canada
30. Norway
60. Mexico
122. Russia

GDP per capita [2005 est.]

G-7 [Russia further below]

United States ..$42,000
Canada .........32,900
United Kingdom ..30,900
Japan 30,700
France ..30,000
Germany ..29,800
Italy ..28,400

World .....9,300

OPEC

UAE ....$29,100
Qatar .....26,100
Kuwait ..22,800
Saudi Arabia .....12,900
Libya .......8,400
Iran ..8,100
Algeria .....7,200
Venezuela ....6,500
Indonesia .3,700
Iraq ..3,400
Nigeria .....1,000

Others (major producers or users of oil)

South Korea .$20,400
Russia 10,700
Mexico ...10,100
Brazil ....8,400
China ....6,300
India .....3,400

So you look at all this and it’s pretty easy to draw some major
conclusions; most oil producing nations have failed to take
advantage of soaring revenues the past few years and there is a
crying need to reform their economies, which should then lead to
the needed diversification and a better life for the people.

[Source for the above statistics: CIA World Factbook / cia.gov;
Energy Information Administration]

Wall Street History will return next week.

Brian Trumbore