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G8 Capabilities: Are They in Decline?

John Kirton and Jenilee Guebert, G8 Research Group
July 5, 2008

When today’s G8 was founded with its six members (United States, Japan, Germany, Britain, Italy and Canada) in 1975, the group commanded 69.01% of the world’s capabilities as measured by gross domestic product (GDP) in the market exchange rates. Today, in 2008, the G8 has eight country members plus the European Union, with its own 27 members, and contains 72.55% of the world’s capabilities. This suggests that the G8’s capability in the world has been on the rise and has grown to an extent that allows it to serve as an effective centre of global governance in most ways. To be sure, emerging powers outside the G8 — notably China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa — have also been on the rise, but the G8 has more than kept pace by adding Canada, an ever expanding EU, East Germany as part of today’s united Germany and the Russian Federation.

Real Historical Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for Baseline Countries
(in billions of 2000 U.S. dollars)

Country

2007

1998

1977

1975

United States

11545.79

9066.90

4750.50

4311.20

Japan

5201.02

4541.27

2422.10

2231.53

Germany

2075.09

1801.93

1179.00

1088.44

United Kingdom

1719.96

1349.44

839.18

797.44

France

2075.09

1801.93

1179.00

1088.44

Italy

1159.75

1026.11

648.48

594.71

Canada

864.80

652.00

373.24

 

Russia

398.60

221.90

 

 

Austria

217.08

179.34

 

 

Belgium

255.52

123.03

136.58

 

Bulgaria

17.57

 

 

 

Cyprus

11.42

 

 

 

Czech Republic

74.20

 

 

 

Denmark

179.58

149.92

105.81

 

Estonia

9.43

 

 

 

Finland

144.75

110.35

 

 

Greece

146.46

103.77

 

 

Hungary

60.69

 

 

 

Ireland

133.21

77.35

29.02

 

Latvia

13.56

 

 

 

Lithuania

18.69

 

 

 

Luxembourg

24.94

16.67

6.45

 

Malta

4.09

 

 

 

Netherlands

404.03

344.46

210.45

 

Poland

218.23

 

 

 

Portugal

111.60

99.21

 

 

Romania

55.21

 

 

 

Slovakia

28.97

 

 

 

Slovenia

24.44

 

 

 

Spain

719.45

517.21

 

 

Sweden

283.82

219.58

 

 

World Total

38866.14

29576.35

15970.10

14652.70

G8 Total

25040.10

20461.48

11391.50

10111.76

G8 as % of World Total

64.43

69.18

71.33

69.01

G8 + EU Total

28197.04

22402.37

11879.81

N/A

G8 + EU as % of World Total

72.55

75.74

74.39

N/A

Notes: The data includes the countries of the European Union represented for the year in question.
Source: World Bank World Development Indicators, adjusted to 2000 base and estimated and projected values developed by the Economic Research Service.


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