Economy of Sierra
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A view of the city of Porciúncula, Sierra's financial center
|Currency||Sierran dollar (KSD)|
|July 1 – June 30|
|APEC, WTO, OECD, G8, NAFTA, and others|
▲ $5.177 trillion (2013) (nominal; 4th)
GDP per capita
▲ $50,329 (2013) (nominal; 7th)
GDP by sector
|agriculture: 1.3%, industry: 27.1%, services: 71.5% (2009 est.)|
|5.5% (April 2015)|
|▲ 41.8 million (2014 est.)|
Labour force by occupation
|agriculture: 1.3%, industry: 42.7%, services: 56% (2005)|
|Unemployment||▲ 4.1% (April 2015)|
|agricultural and fishing products, electronics, telecommunications, chemicals, shipbuilding, steel, consumer goods, automobiles, pharmaceuticals, tourism|
|Exports||▲ $723 billion f.o.b. (2010 est.)|
Main export partners
United States 32.1%|
South Vietnam 4.3%
|Imports||▲ $517 billion f.o.b. (2010 est.)|
Main import partners
United States 13.9%
South Vietnam 7.4%
|▲ $1.59 trillion (2013)|
|▲ 91% of GDP (Q1 2015)|
|Revenues||▲ $1.201 trillion (2013 est.)|
|Expenses||▲ $2.32 trillion (2013 est.)|
|Economic aid||▼ $2.4 billion (2014 est.)|
Standard & Poor's:|
AAA+ (T&C Assessment)
|▲ $238.6 billion (June 30, 2014)|
All values, unless otherwise stated, are in US dollars.
The Kingdom of Sierra is the world's fourth largest economy and features a mixed economy, and up until mid-April 2015, enjoyed rapid and persistent GDP growth rate. Dominated by the service industry with high levels of technological development and capital investment, the economy is currently suffering an economic recession induced by the April 20 Porciúncula Stock Exchange (PSE) crash. Sierra is the 5th largest exporter and 7th largest importer in the world. Home to Hollywood, Central Valley, Silicon Valley, and other prominent regions, Sierra's economy relies heavily on its agricultural products, manufacturing, technology, tourism, and cultural products.
Its particularly robust and evolving economy had given Sierra its reputed significant soft power in relation to its stronger ally, the United States, the world's largest economy. However, its unrestrained growth led to high inflation and the anticipation of a major recession in coming years grew increasingly cumbersome. Following the government's admittance on April 20, 2015, that its monetary policy had promoted excessive growth without restraint alongside low interest rates for bank loans, credit faith plummeted and caused the PorciúnculaSE to crash. Dubbed Black Monday, the recession has prompted decisive action from the Sierran government as well as Hoosier and American support from the National Reserve system.
Overview[edit | edit source]
Emerging from the success of the Gold Rush in the 1850s, Sierra focused on its manufacturing and agricultural sectors. Spending heavily on facilitating economic competition and improved infrastructure and technology, Sierra enjoyed rapid economic growth under the Second Industrial Revolution. Capitalizing from the gains of mass immigration and neutrality in both world wars, Sierra's economy steadily rose transiting towards a services-dominated economy by the 1970s. This steady growth eventually spiraled into dangerously fast levels during the dot-com bubble of the 1990s. With the economy overheating, stock and real estate prices rose sharply. Eventually, in the year 2000, the Porciúncula Stock Exchange crashed sending Sierra into a recession. Through extensive economic reforms, stimulus plans, and a strong rebound in domestic and international demand, Sierra's economy recovered to a more stable level of 4% GDP growth by 2003. Marked with strong economic growth through industry and services, Sierra's growth slowed in the midst of the late-2000s recession. With growth dropping as low as 1.2%, further damage was prevented much thanks to effective stimulus measures and continued strong domestic consumption. By 2010, Sierra saw modest recovery gains of 3% GDP growth, officially setting the economy back on track. As of 2014, Sierra enjoys economic growth at 4.4%.
Infrastructure[edit | edit source]
In 2014, nearly half (45%) of Sierra's energy derived from the nuclear power generated by the nation's 23 nuclear reactors. 22% of the energy came from petroleum, 11% from natural gas, 10% from coal, and the remaining 22% from a variety of alternative sources including wind, the sun, and water.
Sierra is well-known for its car culture and interconnected freeway system. Over 623,000 miles of paved roads provide and support the public's demands. All major cities and metropolitan areas are connected by at least one limited-access highway part of the National Highway System. In addition, each province maintains their own provincial highways and toll roads. Due to congestion and air pollution, local governments have actively encouraged citizens to purchase hybrid or low-emission vehicles, or to carpool.
Transportation by rail is generally more prominent within urban areas or between two metropolitan regions. Extensive in the 19th and early 20th century, since the rise of the automobile, use of railways have been largely limited to short-distance traveling for commuters and long-distance shipping for goods and products. The Sierrail public service provides the majority of intercity transportation and also cooperates with the American Amtrak with international railways. Subway systems also exist in some cities including Porciúncula.
Sierra features 245 airports, 76 of which actively provide service commercial passenger flights. The largest domestic and international airport is the Porciúncula International Airport (PAX) which serves 84 million visitors annually, making it the world's busiest airport. The next three largest airports are the San Francisco International Airport (SFO; 52 million), the Clark International Airport (VEG; 37 million), and the Riverside-Ontario International Airport (RION; 16 million).
Natural resources[edit | edit source]
Geographically and biologically diverse, Sierra has an abundant source of natural resources. With rich soil and varied environments, Sierra's self-sufficiency enables it to support its growing economy and large population. This in turn, allows it to focus on other sectors, giving Sierra a competitive edge compared to other developed nations with limited resources such as Japan or Germany. Naturally fertile soil in both the Central and Imperial Valley regions help provide much of Sierra's agricultural demands and its products represent more than a tenth of all of Sierra's exports.
Up until the late 20th century, forest resources such as timber were processed and used extensively but after growing political opposition, foresting has been reduced. Today, timber continues to be obtained via cutting down trees on a minimal scale domestically. Because many forests and woodlands have become protected either by the federal or provincial government, Sierra's reliance on domestic wood production is negligible meaning wood now generally must come in the form of imports from Canada, the United States, or Brazil.
Nationwide, particularly more so in the southwestern region, Sierra enjoys exceptional sunny weather permitting extensive utilization of solar power. In addition, in the high desert regions, wind is an abundant natural resource that it is converted into energy. With over 8,000 miles of coastline, Sierra has virtually unlimited access to water yet relies most of its water needs from its many inland lakes, reservoirs, and rivers (Lake Tahoe, Lake Mathews, and the Colorado River for example). In the 2013-14 season however, Sierra suffered from exceptional drought and shifted national attention towards constructing more desalination plants, which although costly, would relieve the nation's ever growing demand and necessities.
Historically, Sierra was famous for its deposits of gold and silver as exemplified through the Gold Rush of 1848. Today, common mineral extractions and deposits are sand, clay, iron, limestone, borax, potash, lignite, and gypsum.
Sectors[edit | edit source]
Agriculture[edit | edit source]
In 2013, agriculture accounted for only 1.7% of Sierra's total GDP. Most farming and cultivation occurs on large-scale land parcels throughout the Central and Imperial Valley regions. About 24% of Sierra's land is suitable for seasonal or year-long farming and cultivation. In southwestern Sierra where the land is drier and more arid, ranching cattle, sheep, or other livestock is generally preferred.
In Sierra, wheat accounts for 39% of all cereal production followed by rice at 17%. Both are staple foodstuffs used extensively in Sierran cuisine yet because of the limited area in where these crops can grow viably, the majority of wheat and rice products must be imported (the former mainly from the United States and the latter from East Asia or Brazil). The country is the world's top producer in avocados, a leading producer in oranges, grapes (including wine and raisins), almonds, apples, lemons, and strawberries. In addition, Sierra is the world's largest cannabis producer–two-thirds of which are produced legally in the provinces where the cultivation, sale, and consumption of marijuana has either been decriminalized or legalized completely. The country is also a leading producer in dairy products, particularly milk and also enjoys a substantial amount of its exports on beef and chicken products. Sierra is the second largest producer in agricultural products (after the United States) with the industry being a $40.2 billion business in 2014.
Fishery[edit | edit source]
Due to its proximity to the ocean and home to various freshwater sources, Sierra annually harvests up to 1.5 million metric tons of fish with the 40% of these either obtained from aquaculture or breeding techniques and the rest from offshore, deep sea, and net fishing. Historically, pink salmon and Pacific salmon were Sierra's top species of fish but due to habitat destruction, the wild salmons' population declined to dangerous levels in the 1980s that lawmakers were forced to protect them from fishing. Today, nearly all salmon harvested domestically come from aquafarms along the northern Sierran coastline. Today, the Pacific halibut is the largest catch (accounting for 12% of total production) followed by cod, clams, crabs, lobsters, and shrimp. Seaweed and commercial kelp are also harvested along the coastline although the latter is exclusively grown in aquafarms due to its critical importance to the local sea.
Industry[edit | edit source]
Sierran manufacturing and industry accounted for 11% of Sierra's total GDP. Prior to Sierra's rapid growth in the 1970s, manufacturing was the largest sector. While services as a whole and the real estate sector has surpassed manufacturing in private economic production, manufacturing has seen a resurgence in recent years, especially in automobiles, telecommunications, electronics, and chemicals. Home to Silicon Valley, Sierra boasts a well-developed technological sector but outsourcing has become a major concern in the face of competition with other countries including the United States and countries in East Asia.
Services[edit | edit source]
The service sector accounts for about three-fourths of Sierra's total GDP. Banking, entertainment, insurance, real estate, retailing services, transportation, and telecommunications are all major industries. Sierra is home to over 50 of the Fortune Global 500 listed companies including Google, Apple, Microsoft, Disney, Edison International, Media Corp., OP Entertainment, and Overstars. Like its Anglo-European counterparts, there are no truly dominant conglomerates in Sierra as seen in countries like Korea (chaebols) or Japan (keiretsus). Part of this reason is the anti-trust laws put in place to prevent a monopoly although in recent years, legislation lessening the constraints of these laws have pointed toward that direction.
Tourism[edit | edit source]
In 2013, over 17 million international visitors travel to Sierra with nearly a third of these from the United States. By 2020, the Sierran government hopes to attract an annual 25 million visitors. It has visa exemption agreements with the United States, Canada, Korea, Japan, South Vietnam, and several European Union nations. This paired with the relatively easy visa requirements for most other countries, allow higher instances in travelers. In 2006, the Ministry of Culture announced the creation of the Royal International Tourism Services Agency (RISA), with the purpose of attracting and promoting tourism in Sierra. Porciúncula, San Francisco City, Las Vegas, Yosemite Valley, and the Grand Canyon are among the most visited destinations. The Hawaiian Islands and Cabo San Lucas, both of which are part of Sierran territory, are also popular travel destinations.
Finance[edit | edit source]
The Porciúncula Stock Exchange (PSE) is the second largest stock market in the world by the market capitalization of its listed companies at $7.6 trillion as of December 2014. Over 3,000 companies are listed on PSE and the stock exchange uses two stock indices: the S&P/PSE 225 and the John C. Fremont Composite Index. Other stock exchanges include the Occidental Pacific Stock Exchange (OPEX) and the San Diego Securities Dealers Exchange (SD2).
The largest domestic banks in Sierra are Wells Fargo, Sutter, Bank of Sierra, and Unicorp Financial. Collectively, the assets of these banks total up to $2 trillion in 2014.
Labor force[edit | edit source]
In 2014, unemployment rates averaged 3.2%, down 3% from 2008 when the recession hit. There were approximately 41.8 million employed individuals with the government the largest sector with 4.1 million. Large businesses account for 43% of Sierran workforce with the remaining either to small businesses, contracts, or self-employment. The private sector accounts for 90% of working Sierrans and the rest to the public or voluntary sectors. The largest large business employers are Sierran companies while the largest foreign business employers come from the United States.
Sierrans are among the highest paid with the median household income as of 2014 being $50,329. About 56,000 Sierrans have two full-time jobs and another 2 million have a part-time job in addition to their full-time one. 14% of Sierrans are members of a union but the majority of these work in the public sector. Sierra and the United States are the only advanced economies in the world that do not legally guarantee workers paid vacation or sick leave (although laws vary from province to province) and is one of the few countries that do not have mandatory paid family leave.
Law and government[edit | edit source]
According to the Ease of Doing Business Index in 2013, Sierra is the 6th easiest nation to conduct business in. Personal income tax stands at 22%, consumption averages about 8%, and corporate tax ranges from 15% to 20% nationally in addition to provincial rates from 0% to 15% (rates are additive).
Sierra has the tenth largest foreign exchange reserves with over 238 billion US dollars in foreign reserves. In the 2014-15 financial year, public debt and liabilities stood at 79% in relation to the GDP. This debt is higher than most developed nations as well as the world average in 2012 which was 64%. The government aims to cut wasteful spending and reduce debt to 50% of the GDP by 2030.
Monetary policy[edit | edit source]
The Royal Monetary Authority of Sierra (ROMA) is Sierra's central bank and financial regulatory body which administers and enforces all statutes pertaining to currency, banking, insurance, securities, the financial sector, and debt. The ROMA is tasked with the duty to promote monetary stability and positive economic growth, and maintain credit and exchange policies that will benefit the economy. Deriving its powers from Parliament and ultimately the Constitution, the ROMA is the only authority authorized to issue banknotes and coins as legal tender in Sierra. The ROMA was established within a year of Sierra's foundation in order to prevent a premature financial crash and to manage the versatile financial situation the kingdom suffered during its infancy.
Culture[edit | edit source]
As a result of Sierra's extensive economic freedom and liberties, the majority of financial decisions ultimately derive from the private sector. Neoliberal economics (relatively little regulation and government involvement) coupled with high standards of living have made Sierra a well-developed consumerist society. Sierrans enjoy one of the highest standards of living and spend the highest among developed nations in regards to consumer products and services. Property rights are heavily protected by the Sierran court system and likewise, labor rights, although not as extensive or guaranteed by the government, are heavily encouraged and expected on the companies' part.
Part of the reason behind Sierra's vibrant economy is its culture's strong emphasis on good work ethic, productivity, and punctuality. In addition, business relationships at any level are integral to the life of a Sierran worker. Commitment, cooperation, and harmony are all important aspects pertaining to the symbiotic relationship shared between colleagues, employers and their employees, and producers and their consumers. Often times, especially in white-collar business environments, it is expected for a worker to remain in the same business or career path for life. As a result of remaining in the same business for years, friendship and communication with other colleagues is seen and considered crucial to both a person's well-being and the company's success. On par with the home, the workplace is considered the centerpiece of Sierran life and largely dictates how one will live. The workplace is where one can define or improve their social status, forge friendships and other relationships, and support one's private life and families.
Despite relatively little regulation, there is substantial cultural impetus for companies to meet and support their workers' livelihoods and well-being. Along with this, companies have a social responsibility and are expected to uphold integrity, good ethics, and honesty in relation to the public. Annually, companies collectively spend over $50 billion on projects, charities, causes, or communities outside immediate corporate interest. Transparency is important to Sierran corporate culture and if a mistake has been made, leadership often accepts responsibility and actively seek to redress these issues. A notable example would be when a Torps resort in Oceanside failed to provide adequate screening for its employees, leading to the kidnapping and subsequent death of 2 guests. Following this, the company recognized and reformed its lax hiring practices and committed towards full compensation of the victims' families, as well as donating thousands towards crime prevention services.
Due to limited positions and the excellent job securities some businesses may offer, attaining promotions and ascending the social hierarchy of a company is seen as the desirable goal of a worker. Naturally, there are various fields of professional work that are highly competitive and demand experience and skill. Many universities and higher education institutions offer high-quality education and are often tailored to deliver well-qualified students to said fields. In recent years, colleges have become increasingly competitive, reflecting the true business environment in Sierra. Both public and private universities have lowered acceptance rates overall and increased tuition creating a society where parents rear and frame children at an early age towards getting accepted into a university and ultimately landing a stable job.
Foreign investment[edit | edit source]
Thanks to Sierra's open economy and minimal trade barriers, foreign investment has, since the late 20th century, played a crucial role in Sierra's successful, rapidly growing economy. In 2014, the foreign direct investment totaled $34 billion with the majority of these coming from economic partner countries including the United States, Canada, Japan, Korea, South Vietnam, Germany, Gaul, and the Netherlands (all with the exception of the latter three having a free trade agreement in force with Sierra). Sierra's technology and entertainment sectors are among the highest recipients of foreign investment followed by tourism and chemical products.
Projections[edit | edit source]
Although analysts have worried that Sierra's growth may lead to a bubble burst, the economy continues to exhibit moderate growth at about 4% annually. The 2008 recession significantly affected and slowed Sierra's economic growth but by 2010, it continued its historic positive trend. In coming years, Sierra will continue to face competition with the United States and countries in Asia. Analysts believe that Sierra may eclipse Japan as the 3rd largest economy by 2025 or even earlier if it continues its growth.