How religious is your country?

Which countries are the most religious? — Here is a ranking of the importance of religion to the residents of many countries of the world. This is based upon a Gallup survey.  

How religious is your country?

The Distribution of World Religions

The most religious countries tend to be either poor, Muslim or both. Your country is probably less religious if it is wealthy and European. Gallup just did a survey in 114 countries and found that religion pays an important part of the lives of most people in the world. I have taken their survey and worked with information from the CIA Factbook that I have listed on my “The Types of World Governments” post and came up with the table listed at the bottom of this page. 

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Stock Market Returns over the last 12 Years

As everybody already knows, the American Stock market crashed in November of 2008. It hit bottom early in 2009 and then rebounded. As you can see from the stock chart below, the Dow Jones has nearly doubled from its lows and moved past the 11000 point level.

However if we look at this index over the last 12 years, we can see that the djia was above the 9000 level in 1998. This means that there has been only a 2000 point gain, or only a total of 22% increase during the last 12 year period. 

This makes me wonder whether the strategy of buying and holding conservative American stocks is dead. We probably won’t have another 1929 stock market crash ahead of us, but is there any reason to think that we can make a reasonable rate of return by buying and holding the stocks of the dow jones industrial average?

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Stock Market Returns over the last 12 Years

Government Debt Alarm Bells

Government Debt Alarm Bells Congratulations Americans; you and I have just made history! We have run up our debt to such a level that the bond market is starting to quake! For the first time several large corporations can borrow money from bond investors at a lower rate than the Federal Government can. Want to read more?

State per Capita Rankings

Here are some rankings of the States by several different factors. These are the statistics that I could dig up as of March 2010.

When comparing liberal states with conservative states you will notice that:

  • Liberal states have much higher per capita deficits in their budgets.
  • Conservative states tend to have lower unemployment rates but there are several exceptions to this rule.
  • Per capita income tends to be higher in liberal states
  • Poverty rates tend to be higher in conservative states. Want to read more?

Retirement Verses Birth Rate

Retirement Verses Birth Rate

With more than one in five Japanese 65 or older, the government is encouraging citizens like Tsuneko Hariki of Kamikatsu to work well past traditional retirement age.

Low birth rates have many negative effects on a country’s economy. This is true even in over-populated countries—the birth rate of a country is obviously related to the problem of over-population, but each of the two problems also need to be considered separately.

Here is some data about retirement from the Economist Magazine via Greg Mankiw’s blog along with the birthrates from the CIA Factbook.

The replacement rate for a population with no growth is about 2.33 children per woman (although that is a vague and changing number). Want to read more?

The Types of World Governments

The CIA Factbook created a “field guide” to Government Types. This guide lists various forms of governments that have either been implemented somewhere, or have been thought up by some influential philosopher.   

I copied the CIA Factbook information below, along with a list of countries and their style of government.

The Types of World Governments

Can Democracy work everywhere?

A couple of things popped out at me when I looked at the definitions and the list of countries. First of all, just because a country is called by a nice name such as; republic or parliamentary democracy doesn’t mean that they have created utopia. Countries like Yemen or the Congo would be better classified as Oligarchies. Want to read more?

In Defense of Obama’s Budget Deficit

In Defense of Obama’s Budget Deficit

“Have you been drinking?”– You are asking.

If you have read much of this blog then you know that I’m not much of a fan of Obama’s policies. So how can I write any defense of a budget shortfall of $1.56 trillion? Well, just hear me out on this one!

First of all, I am not defending Obama on the budget itself, I strongly disagree with much of the specifics of the budget. I am just suggesting that deficit spending is inevitable right now, given the state of the economy and the government programs already in place. The government won’t stop funding Medicare or defense simply because the economy goes south. Want to read more?

Is the Big Crash Still Coming?

 

Is the Big Crash Still Coming?Many investors are still nervous about the state of the economy, they have a sense that the economy hasn’t hit bottom yet.

The reason for government involvement in the economy via stimulus money and bailouts is to stop the economy from crashing and to pull it out of its slump. However stopping an economic bubble from deflating can have the consequence of allowing bad economic practices and bad industries to continue; where without interference, bad practices would gone away or self corrected. Want to read more?