井底之蛙

3/22/2011

A fun toy

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 4:52 am Print

The Economist has a fun toy where you can compare Chinese provinces to various foreign countries.  Some of the comparisons don’t help much, given that some of these places don’t mean a lot to me. Yunnan has the GDP per person of Vanuatu and Guangxi of Swaziland? O.K. On the other hand, Sichuan having the population of Germany is a helpful comparison.

The only thing I would have liked to see them add would be a comparison of income distributions. It’s nice to know how much wealth the people of Beijing would have if the money was all shared out equally, but of course it is not. Not sure if they have the data for that, though.

4/20/2007

Maps and Empire

Filed under: — Alan Baumler @ 7:52 pm Print

Maps have been an important part of empire in China for a long time. In the Warring States period spies were always trying to steal maps, and defeated states presented maps of their territory to the victors as a sign of submission. Geographic knowledge written down in books like the Classic of Mountians and Seas was avidly collected as a way of learning the universal patterns of the universe. Needless to say there has been a lot written in the last decade or so about how cartography connects to empire, as it fits in so well with whole postmodern power/knowledge thing. To map a place is to control it, and thus empire-builders were always interested in mapping. I have not found many better visual representations of this than this map of Russian cartography on China, found on the CHGIS site.

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