Unexpectedly Intriguing!
January 24, 2006

InstaPundit Glenn Reynolds pointed to this article from the BBC, which reports recent polling results that the people of both Afghanistan and Iraq are turning out to be very optimistic where their economic future is concerned.

Perhaps a brief glimpse at the recent economic performance of both countries might help explain their optimism, with data taken from the Country Report for each by the Economist Intelligence Unit (subscription required):

GDP and Real Economic Growth Rate
for Afghanistan and Iraq, 2001-2005
Afghanistan
Economic Statistic 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
GDP ($USD billions) 2.5 4.1 4.6 6.0 7.1
Real GDP Growth (%) N/A 28.6 15.7 8.0 13.6
Iraq
Economic Statistic 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
GDP ($USD billions) 18.9 19.0 12.7 25.5 29.2
Real GDP Growth (%) -8.2 -14.2 -35.3 46.5 -3.0

The BBC reports this analysis from the polling firm that conducted the optimism survey:

In Afghanistan, 70% say their own circumstances are improving, and 57% believe that the country overall is on the way up.

In Iraq, 65% believe their personal life is getting better, and 56% are upbeat about the country's economy.

The experts at polling firm Globescan, who conducted the survey, venture the guess that war may have created a "year zero" experience of collectively starting again.

From the data in the table above, I would say it's pretty clear that the "year zero" experience began for the people of Afghanistan between 2001 and 2002, while for the Iraqis, "year zero" began between 2003 and 2004, coinciding with their respective liberations from repressive regimes by the United States.

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