The present literature aims to review a few articles that study the economic development in the Western Europe in terms of factors such as achievement of Million Development Goals, the growth of Gross National Income, Education and Health, Financial resources and population growth. The idea is to acquire an idea of the status, progress and prospects of the economic development in the Western Europe.
For the purpose, numerous literatures were reviewed such as articles, government reports and reports prepared by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe that concentrated on the different factors as listed above. While some literature attempted to study two or more factors together, most of them conducted their study concentrating on one single factor at a time.
Review on the topic “Achievement of Million Development Goals in Western Europe”: To begin with, an understanding of Million Development Goals becomes certain to measure its achievement and comprehend its significance. In plain simple words, Million Development Goals can be well understood as a set of 8 common international goals that were set by the United Nations to be achieved by its member states in order to facilitate a global platform for common development and up-lift the underdeveloped countries with the help of extended cooperation from the developed countries. The 8 goals are, eradication of severe hunger and poverty, achievement of worldwide primary education, promoting equality among genders and empowering women, reducing the mortality rates among children, improving the maternal health, fighting diseases such as HIV/AIDS, Malaria, etc, ensuring the sustainability of the environment, and extend a global partnership for the purpose of development. These million development Goals are meant to be achieved by the year 2015. The countries that together compose Western Europe are: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, England, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Greece, Iceland, Italy, Ireland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Monaco, Norway, Netherlands, Northern Ireland, Portugal, San Marino, Scotland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and Wales.
The goal-wise progress when it comes to the western European countries can be reviewed as follows:
- Achievement of Million Development Goal 1: In most of the economies in the Western Europe many susceptible inhabitants living in extreme poverty are still evident. Such intense poverty conditions are apparent more in rural areas than in the cities. Western Europe however faces the challenge of poverty, insufficient minimum income and substandard health status etc. to a much lesser degree when compared to its counterparts such as Central Asia.
- Achievement of Million Development Goal 2: A positive picture of development in education is obvious when it comes to Western Europe. The goal of access to primary and secondary education had almost been achieved and what needs to be emphasized is the availability of universal primary education both within and across the countries.
- Achievement of Million Development Goal 3: With an exception to Finland and Spain it is the male domination in the sphere of government ministries that is very perceptible in the Western Europe. This happens in spite of an active role played by the government in employing women. Rarely are women seen in the higher administrative posts having a say in the social and political decision making status in the Western Europe. Therefore many social inclusion strategies are being devised in Western Europe to assuage female poverty while accentuating their employability eventually to empower women and remove gender inequality.
- Achievement of Million Development Goal 4: In the Western Europe, child mortality is known to be the lowest when compared to the mortality rates in the rest of the countries in the world.
- Achievement of Million Development Goal 5: The maternal mortality rate too similar to the child mortality rate is recorded to be very low in the Western Europe. Hence the goal is close to be achieved.
- Achievement of Million Development Goal 6: The incidence of HIV cases recorded in the western Europe is almost half the time than that recorded in the countries of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. Therefore the western European countries are going good in the achievement of this goal.
- Achievement of Million Development Goal 7: The green house gas emissions have seen and continuous and considerable dip since 1990 in Western Europe. But the goal is far from being achieved owing to reasons such as poor energy efficiency which needs to be stressed upon in order to successfully achieve this goal.
- Achievement of Million Development Goal 8: Most economies that form a part of the Western Europe are known to be very advanced economies. The adherence to and achievement of the 8th million development goal forms the primary responsibility of all the advanced economies. Nevertheless, these advanced economies owing to their unattained GNI targets could not meet their commitments of such adherence.
Most of the literature that was reviewed suggested that the achievement of the million development goals can therefore be concluded to be vastly bumpy in the Western Europe.
Review on the topic “Gross National Income growth of Western Europe”: The gross national income can be understood as the income arising from the goods and services produced in the place while including the income from other places and excluding the profit made by the foreign companies. It ascertains the wealth earned by the countries as a result of economic activities undertaken throughout the world. The gross national income for Western Europe in the year 2009 stood at $36,329 per capita whereas the gross national income for world in the same year stood at $8,732 per capita.
A change in the gross national product can be comprehended in various ways based on the dimensions in which the change occurs. Just because a rate of change is recorded in the gross national income, a drastic change in the economy of the pertaining country cannot be concluded. Prior to jumping to easy conclusions it is always wise to check on the three basic parameters, i.e. is there a change recorded in the gross nation income, what does the change reflect; whether an increment or a decrement, and finally the frequency at which the change occurs. To illustrate, if the gross national income of a country for a certain period is said to have increased by a certain percentage then it could be figured out that the country’s production of goods and services has increased by a specific amount in that particular period.
World Bank calculates the gross national income per capita based on the atlas method used by the bank. The atlas method is used by the World Bank in order to even out any fluctuations in the exchange rates that are otherwise applicable for the conversion purpose. The table above provides with the gross national income per capita in US $ as calculated by the World Bank per its atlas method, of all the countries forming a part of the Western Europe.
As can be seen from the table above, most of the countries like, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland record an increase in its GNI for the year 2010 when compared to their GNI for the year 2009, which suggests that these countries have recorded an increase in their economic activities related to the production and sale of their products throughout the world in the year 2011. Whereas countries like, France, Greece, Iceland, Ireland and Spain have seen a dip in their GNI for the year 2011. While, Austria, Italy, Portugal and Monaco remained stable in their GNI for the year 2011 not suggesting any major changes in their economic trade for the year.
Review on the topic “Human Capital: Education and Health in Western Europe”: Education can be regarded as one of the most significant developmental sources of any country that has the potential of reducing poverty and inequity while ensuring constant economic growth. Similarly health too belongs to the same sort as education when it is used in the context of economic development of a country. Off late, the health of people in Western Europe had become a matter of concern for the policy makers.
Per the data provided by the European HIV/AIDS statistics, the number of HIV cases in the Western Europe has increased from 12,000 odd in the year 2000 to 24,000 odd in the year 2009 and the countries which recorded the highest cases being United Kingdom, Belgium and Portugal. The number of AIDS cases registered in Western Europe in the year 2009 is 4,631 and Portugal, Spain and Switzerland accounted for the highest of the recorded cases. Contrary to the HIV cases, AIDS incidence has reduced by 58% in 2009 when compared to the number of cases that occurred in the year 2000. Most of the countries in the Western Europe spend almost 8% to 17% of their gross domestic product as their expenditure on health. Such expenditure on health includes execution of activities that are guided by medical or Para medical knowledge. The birth rate in most of the countries in Western Europe ranges from 7 to 16 births per 1000 population. The life expectancy at birth as in 2009 stood at 80 years. WHO in coordination with other international organizations, aims to take up initiatives regarding provision of safe immunization practices and maintenance of poliomyelitis-free status in the countries where it is already present. With this motive to be achieved, vaccines that ensure safety against almost 20 serious diseases are made available and in the European countries. A perfect immunization maintenance and execution also helps the countries achieve the 4th and 6th million development goals.
On the education front, a literacy rate of above 99% is evident in all the Western European countries. In Western Europe since 1970 there was always a constant growth of enrolment in the secondary education and gender equivalence in secondary education was also always maintained in the region. Assuming Malta and Portugal as an exception, almost all the other countries in Western Europe record a gross graduation ratio of 70% and above. The concept of universal education is also to a great extent achieved in Western Europe. The expenditure spent on education is approximately 5% of the gross domestic product. The transition rate from primary to secondary education is above 95% in these countries.
Review on the topic “Financial Resources for development in Western Europe”: A few initiatives such as the industrial rebound powered by exports, re-stocking of the inventory and economic support measures of diverse intensities helped the revival of the economic activity in the Western Europe during the first six months of the year 2010. However in the latter half of the year, the output seemed to decline as a result of the ongoing extraction of financial stimuli and the weakening of the global trade. As a result of more and more countries opting for such economic cuts, the trend of the slow pace of growth continued in 2011 too.
The financial resources at the disposal of any country can be broadly categorized into domestic financial resources and international financial resources. Domestic financial resources include private savings, public revenue collection, internal debts and remittances etc. the international financial resources include international aids, foreign direct investments, exports, external debts etc.
1. Western European countries such as Greece (144), Iceland (123.8), Italy (118.1) and Belgium (98.6) rank among the top ten countries ranked on the basis of the amount of public debt taken as a percentage of their respective gross domestic products.
2. Germany (1,337), France (508.7), Italy (458.4), Netherlands (451.3) and United kingdom (405.6) rank among the top ten countries ranked on the basis of exports conducted on a free on board basis. The exports are expressed in US$ based on the exchange rate and not on the purchasing power parity.
3. The following European countries stand among the top ten countries ranked on the basis of imports in terms of US $ based on a cost, insurance and freight basis (or) free on board basis. They are Germany at 1,120 billion US $, France at 577.7 billion US $, United Kingdom at 546.5 billion US $, Italy at 459.7 billion US $ and Netherlands at 408.4 billion US $.
4. 8 out of top ten world economies belong to the Western Europe which were ranked on the basis of external debt incurred by the economies. United Kingdom at 8981 billion US $, Germany at 4713 billion US $, France at 4698 billion US $, Netherlands at 3733 billion US $, Ireland at 2253 billion US $, Norway at 2232 billion US $, Italy at 2223 billion US $ and Spain at 2166 billion US $.
5. France, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands and Spain are the western European countries which stand among the top ten economies of the world based on the volumes of the stock of foreign direct investments at home.
6. France, United Kingdom, Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Switzerland and Spain are the western European countries which stand among the top ten economies of the world based on the volumes of the stock of foreign direct investments abroad.
7. United Kingdom at 12.46 billion US $, France at 10.6 billion US $, Germany at 10.44 billion US $, Netherlands at 5.45 billion US $, Sweden at 3.95 billion US $ and Spain at 3.81 billion US $ are ranked among the top ten world economies ranked on the basis of the volumes of economic aid received from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development . Such aids aim at providing financial assistance to the less developed countries to facilitate their economic development.
Considering the above facts and figures it is much apparent that the kind of financial resources available at the disposal of western European countries have enough potential to provide a considerable boost to the western European economies on a whole.
Review of “Population Growth and Economic Development in Western Europe”: The percent change in the population can be calculated by considering the number of births, number of deaths and the net number of immigrants entering and leaving a country during a specific period of time. Such percent of change could be either on an inclining scale or on a declining scale. It becomes imperative for any economy to calculate such percentage of change in its population in order to equip itself in a timely manner to be able to cater to the growing infrastructure needs of the increasing population or efficient utilization of the resources while the population is falling.
For the year 2011 Luxembourg, Ireland, San Marino, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Spain, United Kingdom and France recorded a 1% increase in population whereas the remaining European countries like, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Andorra, Norway, Denmark, Portugal, Switzerland, Sweden, Greece, Finland, Belgium, Austria, Monaco and Germany recorded no change in their population for the year 2011. 75% of the population of Western Europe is urban.
Economic development in Western Europe: The recession in the Western Europe proved to be considerably worse as against the expectations. This is evident by the modest growth rate of less 2% for the year 2011 in the region. The global recession had hit the Western Europe so bad that the growth forecast for the region for the year 2011 was very feeble. The sluggish approach of Western Europe towards a powerful growth in the forthcoming years can be attributed to the following reasons:
1. The labor productivity growth in the long term seems to be very lethargic.
2. The cyclical recoveries in the western European countries seem to be very pessimistic.
3. The increased unemployment rate might take considerable amount of time to settle down so as to create potential employment.
4. Problems in achieving adjustments in the western European economies.
5. Debt refinancing problems in association with augmented financial retrenchments.
The reaction of the policymakers was instant towards the crisis that occurred in the Western Europe. He panic nevertheless started to settle down by early 2009. However, the economists are of the opinion that the above forecast of sluggish recovery of the Western Europe is way too gloomy and contrary to what is being projected, the western European countries can achieve a recovery from recession in a much delighted pattern.
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Retrieved from http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/NY.GNP.PCAP.CD