Today’s post goes along with yesterday’s to an extent.  This also comes from Jay Richard’s excellent book, “Money, Greed, and God.”

We are still talking about the zero-sum game. 

Go to the website On the site, click on the “Gap Minder World” link.  This will bring up an x/y plot with a bunch of color-coder circles all over it.  Each dot represents a country, and the size of the dot represents population.  The y-axis shows life expectancy, and the x-axis shows per capita income.  The higher on the graph, the longer life expectancy.  The more to the right on the graph, the higher per capita income in a given country.  (I found it somewhat easier to checkmark a particular country or two in the list on the right – otherwise everything gets a little jumbled up).  When you hit “Play” you can watch the circles move through time.

Most of the circles go up and to the right, especially in Europe, Asia, and North America.  There are some that are miserable though.  Pick Rwanda, Angola, Nigeria, or Ethiopia for example…  Not surprisingly, these countries have very stifling economic policies and/or socialist dictatorships. 

He ends that section with an important point, “If every country had free markets and the rule of law, every circle on the Gapminder plot would probably be moving up and to the right.”

Tough to argue with that.


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February 2010
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