Tuesday, July 24, 2012

compared to what?

Sometimes it's useful to compare apples with oranges., or even with other apples. In international affairs, with our UN fixation on one nation, one vote, we may forget -- or never even know -- that size matters.  It matters that Pakistan is the world's sixth largest country in population. It matters that Iran has 74 million people, ten times that of Israel. It's useful to remember that Indonesia has ten times the population of Australia. That doesn't mean that the United States should side only with the small when they have disputes with larger nations, but rather that we may have more complex relations with large countries than with smaller ones.

The Wall Street Journal has an interesting comparative table showing economic strength [GDP] of nations compared with some U.S. cities. It's fun to note that Boston has a higher GDP than either Venezuela or Greece, that even the Washington, DC metropolitan area would rank 27th in the world if it were a separate country.  Of course, one of America's economic strengths is that we have a common market among the 50 states, and an economy that allows movement of capital and labor between rich and poor areas. Even my hometown of Denver has a bigger GDP than Kuwait or Hungary or Vietnam.

No comments:

Post a Comment