Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just The Facts, Ma'am

Prodded by a persistent inquisitor, I went looking for some facts about Vietnam. Lots of resources out there, but whom to trust? Wikis are all nice and good when you're trying to find the front man of Information Society, but for facts, where else better than the CIA World Factbook?

The Vietnam page gives you a nice rundown. If you're curious, the VN GNP-PPP (purchasing power parity) is approximately 235 billion, and as I've read elsewhere, on par with a place like Greece. If instead one looks at GNP-OER (official exchange rate), VN is only 44 billion, while Greece's is still 210 billion. Wha?!

That's PPP for ya - some economists prefer PPP as it allows one to compare living standards across countries. PPP, in part, equalizes the fact that when one is enjoying a cuppa joe in HCMC vs. Athens, one attains comparable lifestyles but pay differing prices at OER. I'm not an economist, but I play one on this blog.

The U.S. checks in at over 12 trillion. Because the dollar is close to being almighty, there isn't much of a difference between PPP and OER numbers.

Another fun fact relates to population density. According to the, Vietnam is 30th in density, less so than the Philippines (26th), Israel (24th) or the Netherlands (14th) and just slightly ahead of the UK (32nd). The US is pretty sparse (142nd), but so too are places like the Congo (147th) and Somalia (169th). The density we feel is on a city level however, it's not how many folks a country has, but where they congregate.

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