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Economic News, Data and Analysis

Summit of the Eight: America on Top?


The so called “Summit of the Eight” has just rapped up its meeting in
Denver, and the United States – according to the U.S. media at least –
has been boasting of its economic superiority. I imagine that the other
seven countries find this more than a bit annoying, but for now the US
seems to have earned bragging rights. You can examine some of the foreign
media reaction
for yourself.

First things first, let’s get the terminology down. The “Summit of the
Eight” is the G7 plus Russia. The G7, or “Group of Seven,” consists of
seven large economies: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United
Kingdom, and the United States. Incidentally, there is also a G3 (Germany,
US, Japan), G11 (G7+ 4 others), and probably many more G’s. Russia is pressing
to become a permanent member, creating the G8 or perhaps Russia’s suggestion
of “Big Eight”. Russia has been involved in the meetings since 1992.

To confuse things slightly, there are really nine participants at the
summit – the extra representative is from the European Union.

For future reference, and to throw some more letters into the soup,
here are some other economic groups to remember: the OECD countries (the
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development: G7 +many others),
the NIEs (Newly Industrialized Economies), OPEC (Organization of Petroleum
Exporting Countries), and finally the ROW (Rest of the World).

Economic performance

So, how is the US doing relative to the other major industrialized countries?
The following graphs show the performance of the G7 in terms of the inflation
and unemployment rate.

So why is the US seen as being on top? From above, it looks like Japan
is still the leader among this group. The next graph shows the performance
of GDP growth from 1990 to 1996. Until this past year, Japan ()
has been experiencing a bit of an output slowdown; thus leaving the US
on top.

Source: OECD

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