1) The Kingdom Of Norway
*GDP (ppp): $382 billion
*GDP Per Capita (ppp): $52,561
The northern European nation is a nearly perfect mixture of government economic planning based on welfare capitalism, and a lightly regulated business environment. Norway has huge oil reserves which accounts for 30 percent of the nation’s income. It is also the third largest gas exporter in the world. These energy industries plus forest products and hydropower mean high income and low unemployment for a nation that has a population of less than half that of New York City.
2) The Republic Of Singapore
*GDP (ppp): $177 billion
*GDP Per Capita (ppp): $50,522
Like Norway, the government has almost complete control of the economy and allows free enterprise to flourish in a business-friendly environment. The high level of education (93 percent of citizens over 15 can read) among the population drives large consumer electronics and pharmaceuticals in industries. Singapore is also one of the largest financial centers in Asia.
3) The United States Of America
GDP (ppp): $14.25 trillion
GDP Per Capita (ppp): $46,380
The US is the only particularly large country by population on the top 20 list with the exception of Japan which is less than half its size. America has several advantages as an economy. The first, manufacturing capacity, is the most obvious. So is the size of the consumer sector. But, the two things that put the US into a different category are agriculture and intellectual property. American farms still out produce those of any other nation. America completely dominates the worlds of information technology, proprietary premium content, and the internet.
4) The Swiss Confederation
*GDP (ppp): $494 billion
*GDP Per Capita (ppp): $43,007
This is another example of a country which has strict and nearly complete control of its economy. The government tax structure favors business. The nation has a huge financial services and banking industry part of the Switzerland’s legacy of neutrality. Ninety-nine percent of the population over 15 can read, perhaps the most essential factor for an educated workforce.
5) Hong Kong SAR, China
*GDP (ppp): $210 billion
*GDP Per Capita (ppp): $42,748
The People’s Republic is in control of all policy and the local economy is heavily regulated. At the same time, it is China’s conduit to the free market. Hong Kong “re-exports” goods, most of which are produced on the mainland. It is one of the three financial centers of the region, along with Shanghai and Tokyo. Banking giant HSBC has its headquarters there and many other global banks have their Asia management located in the city.
6) The Netherlands
*GDP (ppp): $795 billion
*GDP Per Capita (ppp): $39,937
Through its ports and airports, this country is one of the largest gateways to Europe. The nation is highly industrialized and exports manufactured goods in the chemical and electric machinery sectors. The Netherlands is also home to much of the oil refinery capacity in Northern Europe.
7) The Republic Of Ireland
*GDP (ppp): $228 billion
*GDP Per Capita (ppp): $39,468
The country is the home of a number of manufacturing and distribution center for multinational companies, which originally turned to the nation because of its low labor costs. A mortgage bubble in the country which began a decade ago, caused an increase in construction activity. This happened at about the same time that personal income was rising due to a need for educated workers.
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