Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Sovereign Analysis Metric: TAPG

After a video posted by the Captain a while back about what options were available if you wanted to bug out of the good ol' U S of A in the event of a catastrophic collapse.  The Captain mentioned sovereign analysis as one measure of determining whether or not a country would be a wise place to go to.  I have my own opinions on the viability of 'bugging out' but they general feelings based off of observation rather than firm opinions based on evidence.  That being the case it gave me an idea for another project.  Yes I know I still haven't finished my posts about the Fall of the Roman Republic and it's relations to the United States today, I have a lot of these projects that are halfway through. But that is the nature of the beast, you have to have a lot of pots on the fire lest you run the risk of running out of ideas or things to do. I plan on doing my own Sovereign analysis on a few of the worlds nations. I plan on looking at the United States, the BRIC nations, a few other major developed and developing economies, and examine the resources, their economy and how connected they are to the global system. I don't anticipate this project finishing anytime soon, so you might ask why I am posting on a project not yet even begun, it's because I came up with something that I think might be useful.

While this metric may not be unique, and I don't assume to be the first person to have come up with this idea, I do think this metric will be useful.  The metric I speak of is something I call TAPG, which stands for Trade Activity as a Percent of Gross Domestic Product.  Trade activity is nothing more than the sum of imports and exports of a nation's economy and by dividing it by a nation's GDP I believe it will give us an idea on how dependent, or intertwined we could say, that a country is on the global economy and world trade.

For example, the US has imports and export activity totaling 3.79 trillion dollars with a GDP of 15 trillion. This would make TAPG at 25%.  For China, which has total export and import activity of 3.7 trillion, and a GDP of 7.3 trillion. This would give them a TAPG of 50%, which means that China is more dependent on the global economy and world trade than the United States.  Now this metric isn't intended to be all end all when it comes to analyzing a nation, just one aspect of it.  Just because the US has a TAPG lower than China doesn't necessarily mean that China is in worse shape than America, but it does indicate that one country is more reliant on the globe than another.  And in this makes sense, the US is less reliant on the globe than China. Now before some one takes off my head and tells me that how could I ignore the massive amounts of debt that the US has and it's reliance on the sucker ofs the world purchasing said debt; I am not. This metric isn't meant for that, it simply is a metric in regards to trade. And the fact is, that the US is less dependent on trade than China, it has a more developed economy, more resources and a larger consumer base.

But that being said, I wanted to test my metric out and see if it had validity, or if it was widely off.  Here are some back of the page calculations I did for various nations and their TAPG to test my idea. It is shown from low to high:
  • Brazil 23%
  • USA 25%
  • Japan 27%
  • Australia 37%
  • Russia 46%
  • India 47%
  • Mexico 48%
  • China 50%
  • Canada 50%
  • South Korea 85%
  • Switzerland 103%
  • Singapore 220%
All and all I can say that the ratio is looking like it does a pretty good job.  Now you might say, wait a second, some things look wrong here. For example Singapore has a TAPG of 220% and how can a country have a TAPG higher than it's economy? Or your may even wonder how a developing nation like Brazil could have such a low TAPG? Or you might look at Canada and wonder how it can have a TAPG the same as China?   All of these items are easily explainable.

Signapore generates more in exports than it's entire GDP, it's very impressive actually, however, they also import almost as much as their GDP. Immediately it should become very apparent that a nation that has export and import levels above or very close to it's GDP is very, very dependent on world trade' hence, it has a extremely high TAPG.

Brazil's economy has long focused on self-reliance and it is very inwardly focused. There are a lot of reasons for this, even geopolitical ones, but this inward focused has resulted in an economy that is not very dependent on the globe. Does this mean that they won't be hit hard by the next wave of crisis? Not necessarily, but a low TAPG does lead me to believe that they might fare better than others. But a deeper analysis would be required.

Lastly, there is Canada, which is a developed nation with an abundance of natural resources. Why would they have a TAPG as high as China's?  It has a lot to do with who they are neighbors with. Canada is a very small economy and a lot of trading goes on between Americans and Canadians. 73% of all of  Canada's exports go to America, they are our largest oil exporter, and 49% of all their imports come from America.  Needless to say Canada is very intertwined with America, which means if America goes it is bringing Canda with it.

The last example I gave shows a deeper level analysis that is required when using TAPG. While the ratio may explain which nation is dependent on world trade, it will take a closer examination to see where exactly a country is the most vulnerable in this interconnected economy that we live in. As we can see with Canada, the state of Russia has less of an impact on their economy than the state of America. 

This is just one of the many metrics I plan on using when analyzing my selected nations. And I may come up with new ones in the future. If you have any that you think might be useful, for example the Captain says that the GDP/GNP are important, then please let me know.


This isn't based on any statistical or regression analysis, but based off of my readings of world economies here is how I would rate TAPG ratios using my gut.

Anything less than 30% would be considered Green. A nation with 30% or less of economic activity related to imports and exports has a large enough domestic economy to help it through any major interruptions to the global economy. Now this might seem odd, considering that Japan is extremely dependent on the rest of the world for oil and liquid natural gas, but Japan does have the economic base to develop alternative energy sources. Doesn't mean it wouldn't be expensive, or disruptive, it would. But it has the industrial ability to do so.

Anything less than 50% would be yellow. These are economies that do have risk, however, this risk may be regaled to only a few nations. For example Canada's economy and America's. Or their economy may not be fully developed enough to develop alternative markets or energy sources as quickly as a more developed nation, such as China. 

Anything over 51% but less than 100% is Orange.  These nations are exposed to the ebbs and flows of the global economy. They may have an economy that is very export oriented, a lack of natural resources and underdeveloped domestic forms of alternative energy, or their country may be very poor.

Anything over 100% is Red. These are countries that are extremely exposed to the ups and downs of the global economy. Most likely these nations are very small or are city states and have no choice but to rely on the global market for economic production and energy acquisition. If they are not, then they have an economy that is severely lacking in either certain industrial or energy producing sectors

Additional Countries I looked at

Turkey: 30%
Argentina: 31%
Costa Rica: 40%
Philippines: 42%
Indonesia: 42%
New Zealand: 45%
Panama: 52%
Chile: 61%
Germany: 68%
Malaysia: 130%


  1. This is a very interesting topic that I think many in the west are pondering. If you do begin to think seriously about emigrating, I would strongly suggest traveling internationally if you have the money. Most people never get out of the country and experience how invigorating it can be outside of the constant pressures of Anglo working culture.

    I think a major factor which is rarely discussed is job marketability and security. Many people will be forced to stay in the US if they wish to maintain a first world lifestyle. For instance, I am an engineer, but I work in a very specific discipline of it, and I also suspect that my degree would not mean as much in a study-intensive country like Japan, where a student's math skills may match mine by the end of the high school.

    There are also many non-first world countries which westerners move to. Some countries specifically set up special english speaking zones with relaxed trade rules in order to attract capital injections. I think Costa Rica has at least one place like this. When I was in the Philippines, I noticed quite a few Europeans and Americans, especially as the owners of resorts and hotels.

    I know this is already making the subject over-complicated. Perhaps, though, we could have some kind of way to guage an educated westerner's job marketability in other countries. Maybe a comparison of other countrys' educational level compared to the US, other countrys' job openings compared to the US, etc.

    Also, perhaps we could have some metric that gauges how welcome they are to foreigners, which would be comprised of % of people who speak English, amount of immigration controls (I think Singapore, Japan, and Korea have a lot, last I checked), and so on.

    Thanks for all the analysis so far. You've piqued my interest with some of the stratfor posts and now I'm addicted.

    1. Those are very good points, and yes, they should be included. We should also guesstimate a countries willingness to accept foreigners after the hypothetical collapse. Countries that might be open to foreigners now may change their minds after.

      My analysis was originally going to consist of the major nations or supranational groups, but after your comment I do think I will cover some of the 'smaller' nations like the Philippines or Costa Rica. I may even change how I will do it, as one giant post, into a series of post about individual nations.

      Glad you like the Stratfor posts. I think geopolitics is the one area were the 'manosphere' has been rather lacking, and I don't think we can ignore geopolitical trends.

      Once again, great suggestions, and I absolutely will work them in.

  2. Thank you for working those other countries in so quickly.

    I'm not sure if you've had the chance to check out his blog yet, but the former author of globalguerrillas (a blog which analyzed the geopolitical strategies of guerrilla groups) started a blog called resilient communities, which encourages people to become as independent as possible from large governments and supply chains. I thought that may appeal to your libertarian leanings:

  3. Considering that Singapore has to even buy its water from Malaysia despite being a tropical island with huge amounts of rainfall, my plan when SHTF is to hunker down for a couple of months and live off my stockpile, then strike out up north to my maternal family's lands in Malaysia.

    We were founded on trade, we live by trade, and we will die by trade.

    Looking forward to your analysis.

    1. Thanks. If you have any ideas, or inputs, please let me know. I've been looking at a lot of metrics and it is very monumentous to say the least. I am trying to look at their economy, natural resources, geopolitical location, social stability and civil rights. Needless to say it is a lot of information to process.

      Enjoy your observations on Singapore and the world. The manosphere is very western centric and a non-western perspective on what is going on in Asia, but also the rest of the world is invaluable.


Disagreements and countervailing views are welcome, however, comments will be deleted if:

-They have emoticons.
-If it is obvious that you have not read the post.
-Obvious Spam, and it takes me about a quarter second to determine if it is spam since you all write your comments the same way.

About Me

My photo
Seattle resident whose real name is Kevin Daniels. This blog covers the following topics, libertarian philosophy, realpolitik, western culture, history and the pursuit of truth from the perspective of a libertarian traditionalist.