1. Oh, no. 🙁 That’s the sort of chart that makes John Allen Paulous spit out his wheeties in the morning!

    It’s a big heading and then some data that looks like it greatly decreased. When you read more closely, the heading is misleading: it’s really some kind of modified first derivative: GDP change divided by GDP value, not “World GDP” values.

    A horizontal line on this chart would represent compounding increases in net value, so it’s a little unrealistic to expect that to happen. There will be periods when the year-on-year percentage increase is down. Yes, we’re going through some harder times then in the last 24 months right now, but realism works both ways and The Economist could have made their point without the misleading graphic, I feel.

    Yeah, I probably should have gone with the “no comment” advice. Sorry ’bout that. 🙁

  2. Malcolm,

    The graph that I want is similar to the ones that UBS used to do–the change in a person or family’s ability to buy a particular market basket of goods. This graph normalizes for different costs of things and different salaries in different countries. I think that it might also normalize for falling GDP if prices track the fall in GDP-or at least the change in the rate of rise. 😉

  3. Good point, Malcolm, though I guess I had no problem with it simply because I’m used to the quantity at hand – annual GDP growth rates – so it was (and remains) perfectly meaningful to me.

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