The Fifth Largest Economy in the World!

What the Pollster Say

Undeniably one of the few reliable statistics bandied about by either side in the EU debate, there is universal agreement that the UK is indeed, the 5th largest economy in the world. Whether this undisputed ranking would be enough to safeguard the UK in the unlikely event of Brexit, is less certain. Here then is a random assortment of rankings carefully compiled to determine whether our status in the world is as significant as our 5th place might suggest.

Our impressive economic standing is achieved with a population that is the 21st largest in the world, which sounds quite impressive until our rather poor 13th place in productivity is factored in – measured in GDP. By contrast we manage another fifth place in terms of military spending and a 2nd place to the USA in terms of the total sums spent on foreign aid, being one of only a handful of states to meet a target to give at least 0.7 per cent of national income on overseas assistance. 

Moving onto education, the foundation upon which the success of future generations is built, the UK currently sits 7th in a ranking of the most educated countries in the world, with 38% of the population having tertiary education. Less promising is the fact that the cap on tuition fees was raised from 3,290 pounds to 9,000 pounds for the 2012-2013 year, quite probably putting us in first place for the most indebted students.

At least partially related to academic excellence is our standing in terms of Nobel Prizes. Here we stand second in the world, the top five being the United States, the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Sweden. Nobel Prize winning clearly being the national sport of Sweden. Which brings us to sport itself, that character building activity upon which so much national pride is built. In Beijing in 2008 Team GBR came 4th in the overall medal rankings, moving up to 3rd place in 2012.

Meanwhile in the arts, British writers, artists and of course pop stars are idolised the world over. Adele became the second female artist to take home six Grammys in a year and in 2015 she had the fastest-selling US album ever. Anthony Hopkins, Alec Guinness, David Niven, Colin Firth and Eddy Redmayne have all won Oscars with Daniel Day Lewis helping to bring our Best Male Actor Oscar total since 1929, to 10 – another 2nd place to the US.

So there you have it. Creative, reasonably well educated, bristling with weapons, ridiculously generous, and moderately hard working. But is it enough?