November 07, 2022
Seriously, that is what a story on Bangladesh’s current economic problems told listeners. The piece was touting Bangladesh’s “economic miracle.” It said that the country went from being a very poor country to being richer than Denmark, which everyone recognizes as a very rich country.
If people didn’t realize that Bangladesh was richer than Denmark, they can be forgiven. According to the International Monetary Fund, Denmark’s per capita income (the most basic measure of economic well-being) is almost 10 times as large as Bangladesh’s.
How did NPR get things so badly wrong? Well, Bangladesh’s population is over 166 million. Denmark’s population is less than 6 million. This means that if we ignore the disparity in size, Bangladesh’s economy is in fact larger than Denmark’s.
However, this has nothing to do with being richer. It is difficult to understand what information NPR thought it was giving to its listeners with its assertion that Bangladesh is richer than Denmark.