Welfare and Economic Growth

  • John C. Carrington
  • George T. Edwards


In Chapter 2, the income levels in five nations were quoted in dollars per head, as calculated by the United Nations, for 1960 and 1970 (Table 2.3). The rates used to convert GDP per head into common currency were the prevailing dollar exchange rates1. There is a number of reasons why these rates do not represent the real purchasing power of the disposable incomes of households in an economy. First, the exchange rates are (at best) the market rates necessary to balance the external monetary demand and supply of a currency. Exchange rates are therefore related to the equalisation of the total values of imports with exports. A country which consumes much of what it produces, and imports a great deal while exporting too little in value terms, could have a relatively high standard of living due to the high internal consumption levels, while possessing a low exchange rate due to the weakness of its trading position (e.g. the UK). Conversely, a country with a strong trading position, such as West Germany, may sometimes have an exchange rate which is higher than justified by comparative living standards vis-à-vis other nations.


Exchange Rate Consumer Credit Household Saving Personal Saving Official Exchange Rate 
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  1. 2.
    Milton Gilbert et al., Comparative National Products and Price Levels, OEEC, Paris 1958.Google Scholar
  2. 3.
    Wilfred Beckerman, International Comparison of Real Incomes, OECD, Paris 1966.Google Scholar
  3. 7.
    R. Stone Private Saving in Britain, Past, Present and Future, MS, May 1964.Google Scholar
  4. Quoted in The U.K. Economy, ed. A. R. Prest, Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1966.Google Scholar
  5. 10.
    Michael Stewart, Keynes and After, Penguin Books, 1967, p. 189.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© J. C. Carrington and G. T. Edwards 1979

Authors and Affiliations

  • John C. Carrington
  • George T. Edwards

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