Thursday, June 14, 2007

I am Russian, Tom is South African, Kim is (or at least was) Brazilian

by Ken Houghton

Via Steve Gould and Eat Our Brains comes Strange Maps (clearly, a website to add to the Reader, especially if you already "read" Jessica Hagy's indexed), and this great map:

There are more details at their site. And maybe more later here.

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This appeared on Pharyngula back in January. There are some clear problems with equivalencies, which are enumerated in the Pharyngula comments...

The over all point about the comparative wealth of the US is worth considering, but it would be better to compare GDP by PPP, rather than by raw exchange rates. According to the BEA, Washington State has a GDP of $253 billion (2000 dollars). Turkey, which is matched up with Washington on this map, had a 2005 GDP (in 2000 dollars) of about $246 billion (2006 numbers aren't available in the World Bank's database). However, if you take purchasing power parity into account, Turkey's GDP is calculated at $539 billion (again in 2000 dollars).

Per capita GDP, though, which is more meaningful if we're talking about quality of life, is $7480, using PPP.

So it's an interesting exercise, but fundamentally kind of meaningless.
Everything old is new again.

Actually, the GSP per capita ranking is pretty interesting. While it's certainly good to be a certain variety of D.C. lawyer and/or lobbyist, and inequality between NW and the rest of the city is dreadful, I suspect the District's top ranking could reflect questionable accounting of payments to factors of production domiciled in the MD and NoVA 'burbs.
Even more interesting would be a map matching GINI coefficients by state to various countries. The US as a whole has the highest GINI coefficient in the developed world. A state list is here:

DC is, of course, most akin to a Third World country.
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