The United Kingdom geographically is Great Britain (England, Scotland, and Wales) and Northern Ireland. The combined UK economy is a major economic and financial player in Europe and the world.
The United Kingdom has the fifth-largest economy in the world and is the second-largest economy in the European Union. The UK is a major international trading power. Its gross domestic product by purchasing power parity was estimated at $2.3 trillion in 2008. A GDP real growth rate of 1.1 % was estimated for that year.
The UK has a highly developed, market-based economy, and the government provides citizens with broad social services. The UK is a member of the Group of 8 (G-8) major industrial nations and the G-7, etc. that cooperate on international financial matters.
Although a member of the European Union, the United Kingdom is not a member of the "Eurozone" and does not use the euro as currency. Therefore, the Bank of England is in charge of its monetary policy, not the European Central Bank.
London is a leading international financial center just as New York is. Known as "the City" or "the Square Mile," London's financial district is home to the London Stock Exchange and the Bank of England, as well as hundreds of banks, insurance companies, law firms and other institutions.
And look to the United Kingdom for great economists:
- Adam Smith
- David Hume
- Father and son James Mill and John Stuart Mill
- John Maynard Keynes
- Sir John Templeton, a billionaire U.S. philanthropist who became a British subject and was knighted in 1987, and whom the Fool calls "The World's Most Important Investor"