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How do I interpret the numbers of this table PPP conversion factor, GDP (LCU per international $) as published by the World Bank:

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First of all, it's just numbers, but what do they tell (in common words). What's the difference between

  • Bahrein (0.19), a very rich country
  • United States (1.0), the benchmark or reference country
  • Belize (1.14), a rather poor country
  • India (18.15)
  • Armenia (197.04)
  • Vietnam (7,792.72), a not so poor country

Which property does Vietnam have 8,000 times more than the United States and 40 times more than Armenia? What is measured?

Side questions: What for and in which contexts are these numbers used and play an effective role? Do two decimal digits really make a difference?

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