Oh dear, oh dear, looks like we've got a nasty outbreak of league tables on our hands again [3].

CEBR chief executive Douglas McWilliams said: "Brazil has beaten the European countries at soccer for a long time, but beating them at economics is a new phenomenon. Our world economic league table shows how the economic map is changing, with Asian countries and commodity-producing economies climbing up the league while we in Europe fall back."

However over the next 10 years, Britain is expected to fare better than France, which is currently the fifth-largest economy behind the US at number one, China, Japan and Germany.

The CEBR forecasts that the UK will be the eighth largest economy by 2020, with France in ninth spot, Germany in seventh spot and Russia and India in fourth and fifth place.

It simply doesn't matter which country has the largest economy. For an economy is not a country nor is a country an economy. What we actually want to measure is how well the economy of any place (whether village or continent and anything in between) adds to the gaiety of life in that place, how it aids in increasing the happiness of those who live there. Possibly even their freedom and liberty, sdmiles on children's faces and the choices that people are able to make.

Which means that looking at this 192 million people over here (Brazil) and comparing it to this 62 million over here (the UK) is simply nonsense. For once we've adjusted for population size we find that the UK manages three times the living standards of Brazil: sunshine, capirinhas and football be damned.

I myself look forward to the time that the UK has the 22 nd largest economy in the world. For as the 22 nd largest nation [4] by population that would mean that the billion odd Chinese have overcome decades of Maoist lunacy, the more than a billion Indians have got through decades of Nehru's foolishness, that 230 million Indonesians have overcome Suharto's (and Sukharno's) greed corruption and avarice and joined us in that sunny upland of being just about as rich as it is possible to be at our current level of technology along with everyone else as well.

For the economy really isn't a zero sum game and their getting rich will make us richer too. And who really wouldn't want that to happen?