Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Qatar Is The New Number One

In per capita GDP, that is. The table below shows the the top 10 countries in per capita GDP based on the the CIA's 2010 estimates (they are not all from 2010-Liechtenstein's estimate comes from 2007, for example).

Click here to go to the CIA World Factbook. The numbers are based on "purchasing power parity," which means the differences in cost of living between countries is taken into account. But it does bother me that our most recent estimate for Liechtenstein is from 2007. With all their riches, they could be a threat. So maybe the CIA should pay closer attention to them.

Update 3-4: Commentor "Sparrow" mentioned that Qatar uses slave labor. Here is a UN report on that Trafficking in Persons Report 2008 - Qatar. Here is a recent news story Online Petition Asks Qatar to Fight Human Trafficking in Advance of World Cup.


Sparrow said...

Alas, neither the Gini coefficient, nor any other major indicator of economic equality is published for Qatar - the reality is that citizens make up a tiny, overwhelmingly wealthy minority of the country, while a large proportion of the population, immigrant labour unentitled to permanent residency, survive as little more than slave labour.

Cyril Morong said...

Thanks for dropping by an commenting. Can you supply an links on this? For some reason I cannot get into the CIA World Factbook. But this page shows that Qatar has about the same distribution of income as th US.

I was in Ireland in 2009 and had a great time.

Sparrow said...

There are difficulties in substantiating claims as regards society in Qatar - all national media is essentially state run and highly centred on promoting the image of the ruling (and very popular) Al Thani royal family.

The country is too small to attract investigation by foreign media. The country funds a lot of positive projects in other countries - this acts to further restrict criticism. Finally, typically, Qataris are hypersensitive to criticism - to function sucessfully in relations wit the country requires looking the other way.

My comments come from 3 years experience in living in the country, working closely with both Qatari citizens (of whom there are only about 300k) and immigrant labour (of the lowly paid Asian variety and largely highly paid western variety ) who make up the balance of the 1.8m population. The largest social group are the lowly paid, and most subject to abused. Typically salaries are in the order of $120 (QR500) per month for long working hours, often with 7 day weeks.

Interesting to see the Gini Coefficient you referenced - I remember from living in the country that I couldn't find any such calculation. It may be that it is calculated based on permanent resident population (ie 300k) as opposed to resident population of 1.8m. I would certainly expect a strong U shaped income distribution curve.

A few links below: (infalmatory title but informative)

Cyril Morong said...

Thanks. And I don't know much about the site I linked to so I don't know who in the population it includes. The UN report I linked to was pretty shocking. I wonder what the governments of the countries the migrant workers come from say or do about this. Maybe they are just turning a blind eye to all of it?

Are things getting better or worse for the migrant workers? Are people still going there from these other countries despite the bleak reports?