TB Rates; A Good Metric For Measuring A Nation's Relative Development?

Aug. 06, 2013 2:42 AM ET
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Portfolio Strategy, Dividend Investing, Macro

Contributor Since 2009

The author is a student of the financial markets and enjoys following their course.

There are many ways to compare economies. In the modern, hypercapitalist world, defined by large complex international companies, whose owners are far flung,and disparate, the modern state of the world often leaves notions like GDP Per Capita perhaps somewhat lacking. If we take American economies for example, economies typified, by relative low taxes regulation at higher income levels, we can easily see that GDP Per Capita, isn't exactly inline with the average worker's salary etc, and hence GDP Per Capita is always somewhat skewered depending on upper level,wealth/capital/income accumulations at the higher end of the spectrum. This oft repeated refrain concerning disparate divisions of income per se, concerning the heirs of Walmart, and the "bottom" X(40-60%) of people's wealth in the USA, harkens back to this, etc etc.


Needless to say, when I came across a series of interesting finds, I was shown this perhaps new "emerging market" analysis metric; as in the TB rate. It all started with this interesting video here; showing the TB situation in Siberia. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gth7x9Ay1Ng) In this video a claim was made of the TB infection rate in Russia being the 3rd highest in the world. Of course this is a suspect statement; and a little research verified, that they were tens of countries off in this undoubtedly shock-value seeking statement; for Russia is not anywhere near 3rd position in so far as TB infection rate is concerned as can be seen from this handy table here;http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/SH.TBS.INCD?order=wbapi_data_value_2011+wbapi_data_value+wbapi_data_value-last&sort=desc.


What else this table shows however, is that by comparing TB rates, one can see countries that one might not otherwise necessarily compare side-by-side per se. Of course the list's ranking is not so shocking per se, but it is interesting to see that for example, that the Philippines is ranked higher(higher infection rate) than is Ethiopia, directly after it for example. Another interesting juxtaposition in the ranking could concern Krygyzstan and Kazakhstan being ranked just lower than Bolivia and Senegal.


Perhaps hence, as TB infection rates could be a good measure of generally speaking infrastructure development, both governmentally and economically, this could be an interesting way of comparing countries which one might not normally compare. For if one were looking for countries where there might be potential for middle-class consumer growth one might be better served to look at the countries overall infrastructure setting per se, as opposed to a figure like Per Capita GDP, which can be somewhat dishonest in hiding skewed situations per se, inherent to any modern economy. Hopefully this might aid someone else comparing emerging markets for various reasons, and perhaps its interesting to note in any case.

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