Thursday, January 17, 2008

Just to put it in perspective....

Appearances to the contrary: this is not a right-wing put-up proving once and for all that those wussy California libruls are French. (If it were, you can bet Alabama would not be labeled "Iran.")

Rather, it's a way of visualizing the relative size of each state's economy -- by matching each state with a foreign country that has a similar-sized economy. Iowa's economy is about the same size as Venezuela's. Texas is right in there with Canada (the tenth-largest economy in the world). Wisconsin's doing about as well as South Africa.

Of course, this is a bit misleading -- it only takes into account GDP, without factoring in relative population. (There are several orders of magnitude more people in Pakistan than there are in Arkansas, for example.)

Still, it gives you some pause. America, all on its own, has an economy roughly the size of all those nations taken together. That's what it means to be an empire. And that's why the fate of all those other people depends so utterly on the choices we make.

The map is from Strange Maps, which is a great site to visit when you're in the mood to get your assumptions about the world shaken and not-so-gently stirred.