The economic underdevelopment of a country can be measured on its balance sheet and by its gross national product; but in human terms it is the standard of living (as measured by comparative per capita figures) and the vital statistics for birth, health and death, that show what poverty brings. Economic underdevelopment not only means that the health of the people is affected, but also that local education and training and the importation of technologies for increased productively cannot be paid for. Thus there is no way out; and underdevelopment continues, maintained by expensive loans and inappropriate technology transfers.
Gross national product on a per capita basis in USA dollars show that in 1980, the high-income oil exporting countries of the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia ranged from 27,000 to 11,000; and the industrial economies, market and non-market, from 16,000 to 4,000. Over thirty economically underdeveloped countries had GNPs of less than 500; another twenty of less than 1000. Switzerland, with the highest figures for a non-oil exporter, had $16,440; while the lowest was Bhutan with $80 per person.