Saturday, February 26, 2005

The FED discusses Russia's economy

The local office of the Federal Reserve Board (Fed) puts out a bi-monthly bulletin (it's not big enough for me to call it a journal) and I was lucky enough to be given a hard copy. There are two things I found interesting. First, the article discussing Social Security and Medicare comes out with amazing timing, since it's at the same time President Bush is trying to sway the public opinion with his current push to change the system.

The other interesting item was an article discussing the massive improvements made in Russia's economy over the last decade. I think the following table conveys just how far they have come.
Russia Making Progress



Early
1990s
Early
2000s
Residential space per person
172 sq. ft.
217 sq. ft.
Percentage of housing with:


Running water
66
73

Hot water
51
59

Central heat
64
73
Percentage of people with:


Private-sector jobs
20
55

Television sets
37
64

VCRs and video cameras
0
20

Telephones
14
24

Cell phones
0
12

Personal computers
3
10

Internet service (at home)
0
4

Passenger cars
7
14
Russian tourists traveling abroad
1.6 million
4.6 million
Listed domestic companies
0
214
As percentage of GDP:


Market capitalization of listed companies
0
53

Value of publicly traded stocks
0
10

Bank credit to private sector
0
21

On a personal level, this table remindeds me complaining is an unjustified personal indulgance. Despite Russia's monumental progress in just one decade, looking their current conditions illustrates how U.S. citizens have so very much more than the vast majority of the world's population. All of which makes me want to ask, "By what standard does anyone in this country have the to complain?"

Sure, we want more. Sure, we need to work on improving injustice wherever we find it. But come on, our cars are better equiped than most of their homes!

1 comment:

Sleepless in San Francisco said...

Sure, we want more. Sure, we need to work on improving injustice wherever we find it. But come on, our cars are better equiped than most of their homes!Coming from a humble developing country, this has always been my sentiment.
Granted that I came from a middle-upper class there, lots of things here always make me making comparison with where I come from.
99.9% of the time, we still come ahead here.
So no complainer I am.

:o)
--H