Sunday, 9 February 2014

American states replaced by countries with a similar GDP - e.g. California becomes France

This map is based on 2007 economic figures, so some of the countries - and some of the states, no doubt - will be poorer (or richer) than they were back then. But overall US GDP is roughly the same. (If you visit Strange Maps - here - you'll find a list of the states in order of GDP.)

How fitting that Minnesota matches Norway. Others aren't as easy to get one's head round - massively oil-rich Saudia Arabia on a par with Tennessee? Thailand and Arizona? Argentina and Michigan? Venezuela matches Iowa, despite a population ten times bigger. And Pakistan has roughly the same GDP as Arkansas, despite a population sixty times larger! (I think that's what the phrase "failed state" is meant to capture.)

I have no idea what any of this means, if anything, and I'm not of the opinion that economic activity is the only measure of success. Left-wingers who imagine that global wealth is finite would no doubt conclude that it proves life is desperately unfair and that if only America were poorer, other countries would be richer (this certainly appears to be Barack Obama's opinion). Right-wingers might infer from it that democracy, the rule of law, free markets, religious freedom, low taxes and relatively meagre benefits enourage enterprise.

Here's a map that has no political meaning (at least, I can't think of one). Here's how various countries map onto American states in terms of their size:

This comes from a Business Insider slide-show featuring "The 22 Maps That Define America" (here).

I'll leave you with another  of those 23 pointless but fascinating maps: this one shows states with the brand most readily identified with them superimposed:


  1. What does all this mean? It is skirting the tired old lazy, journalistic territory of "the same size as Wales" [I don't know the size of Wales let alone where it is], "enough to fill 20 Olympic swimming pools" or in a more recent BBC News Report " enough people to fill 20 school buses with small children" [why 20 always?] . I know economics is a cod-discipline which is probably why it attracts so many charlatans [sorry, gurus], but for Christ's Sake. Thomas Gradgrind - he is the Mensch.

    1. Ain't nothin' but a thang, SDG.

      Here is an article which lists ten places that actually are the size of Wales:

      Hope that helps.