The Canary in the Coal Mine?

Given recent events, it seems like the stock market, and perhaps the world economy, are dependent upon the health of Greece’s economy. The slightest bad news from Greece sends stock markets around the world plummeting and the pundits repeating their dire predictions of the end-of-the-world as we know it.

Certainly, the Greek economy may be the canary in the coal mine, warning us of impending economic problems elsewhere. However, a bit of perspective can provide some useful insight into how relevant the problems in Greece are to the rest of the world or the quarterly results and stock price of Procter and Gamble.

In 2011, Greece’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), the market value of all the final goods and services produced within Greece, was an estimated $312 billion.

Which of the following has a GDP smaller than Greece?

A. Poland
B. China
C. Chile
D. Philadelphia

C. Chile
Chile’s GDP totaled $281 billion in 2011. In 2010 eight U.S. metro areas and twelve states had GDPs greater than Greece. Wisconsin’s 2010 GDP was $248 billion.

A total of 24 percent answered Chile. The City of Brotherly Love garnered the most votes (41 percent).

Sources: BLS Regional Data and CIA World Factbook