A new way to visualize a country’s development.
By TIM HARFORD
Graphic by CÉSAR A. HIDALGO and ALEX SIMOES
New York Times, 11 May 2011
EXTRACT: Strip away the mathematical language of economists, and conventional theories of economic growth are rather crude. Economies produce “stuff,” and if you want more stuff to come out of the process, put more stuff in (like human capital, say). Yet economies do not produce stuff so much as billions of distinct types of goods — perhaps 10 billion, according to Eric Beinhocker of the McKinsey Global Institute — ranging from size 34 dark stonewash bootcut jeans to beauty therapies involving avocado. The difference between China’s economy and that of the United States is not simply that China’s is smaller; it has a different structure entirely.
Phi Beta Iota: This is a very promising line of inquiry. It does not include the vital but poorly understood interactions among political-legal (integrity), socio-economic (fairness), ideo-cultural (education), and techno-demographic (balance), and natural-geographic (true cost, sustainability). As with most intellectual work these days, it is a thin slice across one dimension of very complex sphere–the world is NOT flat.