Sunday, February 27, 2011

Visualizing the Chinese and US Economies

The Economist has a great map showing just how much China's economy has developed. Each province in China is labeled with the corresponding country whose GDP it is equivalent to:

For an even more detailed map showing GDP per person, population, and exports from The Economist, click here.

Back in 2007, I found this map from a blog post at showing the same thing with US states:

This US GDP map is a couple years old so it might not be incredibly accurate right now. But I think it should generally hold true or be in the same ballpark.

It's funny to see the shared countries on the two maps:
- Nebraska and Inner Mongolia's economies are both the size of the Czech Republic's
- Virginia and Zhejiang are both the size of Austria
- Oklahoma and Beijing are both the size of the Philippines
- South Carolina and Hunan are both the size of Singapore
- New Mexico and Shanxi are both the size of Hungary
- West Virginia and Shaanxi are both the size of Algeria
- Kansas and Sichuan are both the size of Malaysia
The comparisons could go on.

A couple things of note: no Chinese province even comes close to US states like California, Texas, or Florida. In fact, there really aren't really any economic powerhouses on China's map at all. Also, when you compare a hugely populated province like Shandong (around 95 million people) to Switzerland (around 8 million people), a straight GDP number doesn't give a very meaningful picture of what the situation really is in the two places.

It'd be interesting to compare the populations of all of China's provinces with the population of the countries on the map. There's no way the countries on the map come close to China's 1.3 billion people.

Population disparities aside (China tends to screw up population-based comparisons), these maps do show just how dominant the winners of the world economy have been. The disparity between the haves and have nots has grown by leaps and bounds in the past few decades. This, I believe, is why we're seeing governments across the Middle East topple.

I'm watching everything in the Middle East with great excitement and trepidation. What happened in Egypt and Tunisia is incredible. What's going on in Libya, Bahrain, Yemen, Jordan, and other countries throughout the Arab world is frightening.

Democracy in the Middle East is going to be a long struggle. It's inspiring to think that 2011 could end up being a year that more than 100 million people were emancipated from autocratic rule. Saying that, there's no guarantee what will happen now that the strongmen at the top are gone. I hope that the US and other democracies around the world support any country striving towards honest and fair elections.

No matter what happens down the road, 2011 is shaping up to be a very historic year.


Anonymous said...

Man I hear ya on all the uprisings. What is happening in Libya is crucial. Looks like it could go either way right now. The world really needs to see the uprising work in Libya. If it doesn't, then dictators around the world will probably see it as a mandate that in order to retain power they must resort to violence against protestors in their own country at the first signs of a protest.

In some of his insane ramblings Gadhafi has made references to Tiananmen square. What an appropriate legacy. I personally can't see another uprising like Tiananmen happening in China again for a variety of reasons. However, if an identical one were to happen today, I think the CCP would handle it entirely differently now. China is too intertwined with the West and while China is progressing at a frustratingly slow crawl towards Western ideals concerning human rights and individual freedoms, it seems to me that it is heading in that direction. Albeit, two steps forward, one step back seems to be the tack.

I think imagining how China would handle another Tiananmen says a lot about where one thinks China "is" right now with regards to its evolution as a civilized country. Personally, if another Tiananmen happened, I could foresee mass arrests, but I don't think there is a chance in hell they would open fire on protestors again.

Mark said...

These are certainly interesting times!!

I'm cautiously optimistic about everything in the Middle East. There's tons of uncertainty about the future, but seeing autocrats ousted from power sure is inspiring. I'm hoping so badly that this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity in Egypt, Tunisia, and other places is a success.

Qadaffi's praise of Tiananmen was wildly disturbing.

The handling of the "Jasmine" stuff the past couple weeks by the gov been completely unhinged. I've been following it closely on Twitter. Talk about paranoia and overreaction.

Donnie said...

To bad that map of the us wasnt for real, we would border mexico, pakistan, malaysia and venezuela, there are a couple more small borders but the big ones would make missouri a badazz place to live. Of course that would mean we would be poland and that kinda sucks but no doubt we would have our pick for dope getaways.

mariamama said...

thanks for sharing, very interesting and I also think that 2011 is going to be a very interesting year specially when it comes to the middle east

Stage China said...

Wow! Really great map! Thanks for sharing! 2011 is definitely a interesting year for the world.