World economies (part 1) - Introduction

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The economies of the world are very different from each other, although most of them are based on the same foundation: capitalism. The number of aspects distinguishing individual economic systems is enormous. For the sake of this cycle, let's assume that they can be grouped into five groups. The first set of such factors includes legal regulations defining the principles of the economy - so it is about taxes, contributions, official formalities and securing property rights.

The second group results from the location of a given country, so it includes the issue of climate, neighbors and access to natural resources such as coal, oil and uranium. Another factor is historical events - significant events, dependencies, wars, robberies and past economic relations (e.g. communism). The next thing that has an impact on the economy is the political system - understood in a broader way than just the prism of applicable laws.

The last variable, very difficult to grasp and examine, is the mentality of society, which is basically the product of all the factors mentioned above.

World Economy - A Brief Overview

In this series of articles, we will look at economies that are very different from each other. Speaking with some self-irony, I will follow the wave of learned Eurocentrism and begin my deliberations by describing some interesting systems of the Old Continent. I will discuss collectively - as it has already been accepted in practice - the Scandinavian countries and I will look at the strongest economy in Europe, i.e. Germany, and I will try to answer the question why the Polish economy looks the way it is. I will deal with Great Britain separately when trying to understand the American success.

Then I move on to discussing the very specific economies of Latin American countries. It is a very turbulent region of the world where many coups and revolutions have taken place. Both free marketers (Pinochet) and populists and hardline communists rose to power there. This is where the theology of liberation was born, and it has become aloud now that Pope Francis is seated on the throne of Peter.

The next chapter will be about the USA, a very young country, but at the same time incredibly wealthy. A country where nineteenth-century wild capitalism created the fortunes of thousands and condemned millions to a life of poverty. A country strongly transformed by the left, which never gained real power there. A very interesting country in terms of politics, with two dominant parties, constituting a real conglomerate of views and doctrines.

The next group of countries under discussion are the so-called Asian tigers. This name originally included only four countries - Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong. Currently, it is also used when it comes to, inter alia, about China and Indonesia - and I will follow this path as well. The chapter will also discuss the economy of Japan, which may not claim to be a tiger, but it cannot be omitted when describing this region of the globe.

Russia and the countries of the Commonwealth of Independent States is a very interesting collection that is worth getting to know better. They are orphans after the collapse of the Soviet Union, whose communist spirit is still alive in this corner of the world. Eastern countries are interesting because of the enormous influence of human mentality on the economy - we are talking about the so-called homo sovieticus.

Arab countries - very different, but very similar at the same time. They share a religion that regulates many aspects of the lives of their followers, including trade relations. It is enough to cite only one provision from the Koran, prohibiting the practice of usury (interest on loans) - this prohibition had and continues to have a huge impact on the economic development of Muslim countries. In their context, geographic location also means a lot - some countries are located in oil-bearing areas, which is the reason for their incredible wealth. Other nations were not so lucky to have to live in the desert heat, suffering from a shortage of water and valuable resources. In the analysis, I will devote most of my time to familiarizing readers with the economy of the United Arab Emirates - a very interesting country with a seemingly free market.

Finally, a small note - many people used to perceive the level of economic development of specific countries based on the amount of GDP and the dynamics of its changes over the years. This is an incomplete picture. The HDI (Human Development Index) index, which defines the real standard of living in a given country, is much more important - life expectancy, healthcare and access to education are taken into account, among others. The Gini coefficient is also important, as it allows to rank countries in terms of income stratification. In this respect, the rich United States performs poorly, and the winning countries are those where the standard of living is indeed very high - such as Sweden, Norway and Denmark. The next indicator concerns the level of social poverty (HPI) - there is probably nothing to explain here.

I invite you to read this series - I hope it will be interesting and bring a lot of interesting information. When reading it, it is worth remembering that I did not mean to convey dry knowledge contained in percentages, charts and statements. It is about something else - an attempt to answer the question why the economies of these countries look exactly this way. I will try to present the relationship between economy and culture, geography, politics, history and law in an interesting and concise way.