Many Europeans do not even realize
that their EUmpire
leads the world in many important categories:
2008 nominal gross domestic product (GDP) in trillions of USD (source: CIA Factbook):
EU 18.8, US 14.3, Japan 4.8, China 4.2.
In purchasing power parity (PPP) the
top three are clustered more closely:
EU 14.8, US 14.3, China 7.8.
But PPP is a rather arbitrary socialist invention that
ignores the market's invisible hand, based on the flawed
premise that a Big Mac in a polluted third world city
is worth as much as a Big Mac in scenic Zurich (where you also can
find excellent health care in case the Big Mac makes you sick).
GDP per hour worked (USD, PPP, source: OECD Stat Extracts 2009):
Norway 72.5, US 54.6, France 53.7, Eurozone 46.6.
Exports in trillions of USD (source: World Factbook, 2007):
EU 1.7, China 1.5, US 1.4, Japan 0.8.
1901-2009 rankings based on
correct fractions of shared Nobel Prizes - most laureates get only
1/2 or 1/3 or 1/4 of a prize (source: Nobel Foundation):
EU >270, USA >150, Asia >33. Until 1956
Germany (now in the EU) led the rankings
(until 1965 if we consider
only the laureates' countries of birth; until 1975
if we consider only the sciences).
Olympic Gold Medals 2008: EU 87, China 51, USA 36.
(Again EU = China + USA, as for GDP.)
All time rankings: EU 2440, USA 1008, USSR (participated rarely) 473.
Quality of life. The EU includes or surrounds
7 of the world's top 10 (and 18 of the top 30) most
livable cities (source: Mercer survey 2009),
the countries with the
most vacation days
(source: CNNMoney, June 2007),
7 of the top 10 (and 4 of the top 5)
happiest nations, including the two happiest (1990s average; source:
8 of the 10 richest nations (source: World Bank 2008), including the richest
which is not the happiest.
The EU is by far the biggest global tourist destination -
two single EU states (France & Spain) top the 2008 list (source: UNTWO).
The EUmpire is not leading in every category though:
Population. 2008 population in billions:
China 1.3, India 1.1, EU 0.5, USA 0.3.
Area. 2008 area in millions of square km:
Russia 17.1, Canada 10.0, China 9.6, USA 9.6, Brazil 8.5, Australia 7.7,
Military power. Numbers of active nuclear warheads (source: FAS Status of
World Nuclear Forces 2009):
Russia 4800, USA 2600, EU ~500, China ~200. (In 1987 the USSR still
had 40,000 warheads; there are enough left to destroy civilization
many times over.) Military expenditure in billions
(mostly for small conventional conflicts - source: Wikipedia 2009):
USA 636, EU 312, China 70.
So Russia and the US have more destructive (mostly nuclear) power.
Should the EU, a new peaceful kind of empire with lots of constructive power,
perhaps more of an anti-empire, worry about this?
Has the new millennium brought any evidence that military
power is good for those who wield it?
Entertainment. The EU dominates
some but not all forms of it:
Today's most popular sports were all born in Europe (especially in the UK),
filling stadia every week all over the world.
Football world cup finals are the most watched TV events ever.
While many top athletes in these sports are not EU-born,
most world champions in Olympic disciplines are.
Literature: Most Nobel laureates &
top-selling fiction authors (Christie, Rowling) stem from the EU.
Fine Arts: most top-ranked post-2000 visual artists are
EU-based (not to mention 20th century artists
led by Spain's Picasso).
Rock & pop world record holders from EU (mostly native English speakers):
all time best-selling act (Beatles) & composer (McCartney) & musical (ABBA: Mamma mia).
current band (U2) & tour band (Stones).
Fashion & beauty:
Most of the major fashion labels stem from the EU,
which also boasts the 3 most valuable
supermodels, 4 of the top 5, 9 of the top 12, and 12 of the
(source: BBDO Consulting, 2005).
The EU lags in some fields though:
Movies: Tickets sold (in billions, 2002) for
films from: India (Bollywood) 3.6 (often cheaper
than Western tickets though), USA (Hollywood) 2.6, EU <1.0.
(Sources: Motion Picture Association of America, PWC, FICCI, Business Week.)
Video games: already bigger than the movies; traditionally
dominated by Japan (but GTA IV, top game ever as of 2009,
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