Emerging Economic Superpower

Harvard economist LM has observed the emergence of a new economic superpower. Some might think that one cold day in Cambridge does not exactly disprove global warming, or that one year's good economic growth might convince only the most credulous, but, stamped with the authority of Harvard, how can we doubt?

The CIA factbook has published some economic data for Iraq, which shows that the GDP grew by 52.3 percent in 2004. LM notes this and deduces:
The country has not only a terrific growth potential but also a big potential to become an extremely civilized territory, just like it was thousands of years ago when Europe was their barbarian borderland.
And any doubters are "immoral bastards."

The CIA factbook is a bit more cautious in its assessment.
The high percentage gain estimated for GDP in 2004 is the result of starting from a low base.
And notes that:
The military victory of the US-led coalition in March-April 2003 resulted in the shutdown of much of the central economic administrative structure.
The result was a 2003 GDP decline roughly equal to the increase in 2004.

Despite the robust estimated growth for 2004, the GDP for 2004 was still only a little more than half what it was two decades ago. Anyone who dwells on, or even acknowledges, these realities is an "immoral bastard" though. No doubt the same is true of those who wonder if the security situation in 2005 will even permit a reasonable estimate of the GDP.

UPDATE: If this topic interests you, be sure to check out Jaques Distler's comments over at Lubos's blog. He has some interesting numbers, including the (essentially non-existent) GDP growth so far this year. It seems obvious to me that Iraq is unlikely to have much growth unless the country is pacified. So far, we have not succeeded in doing that. We may hope the Iraqi's do.


  1. He's not an economist. Not an economist at all. We have no responsibility for this. None. Zero.

  2. Sorry brad, that was a joke.

    Lubos is a theoretical physicist, but he has lots of opinions, on all sorts of subjects.

  3. iraqbodycount.net


    In the first two years of the Iraq war, insurgents/terrorists caused only around 10% of the non-combatant deaths, the US forces around 37% and criminal killings were 36%.

    i.e., the failure to pacify Iraq is not the failure to put down insurgency/terrorism, it is the rampant lawlessness of criminal gangs.

    If one accepts this analysis, then "we fighting the terrorists there so as not to fight them here" has no validity.


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