Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The one thing Oklahoma and the Philippines have in common

This poorly-scanned map provides a different perspective to our current economic crisis. The specifics are less important than the big picture: the question arises, how the hell is our economy in trouble right now? The map shows an enormous economic monster that features booming markets from coast to coast. Tennessee sells enough Jack Daniels to keep up with Saudi Arabia? Texas matching Canada, Russia equal to New Jersey? On the latter I have to suspect the absence of, and impossibility of, calculating the black market GDP, brings Putin's boys down. However, if you believe in the glamorization and embellishment of the Sopranos, then maybe Jersey could keep up. The text reads: "On this map, the name of each U.S. state is replaced by a country whose G.D.P. equals approximately that U.S. state's gross state product. The U.S. economy is as large as the next four-largest economies in the world-Japan, Germany, China and the U.K.- combined." I received this map in the postal mail several months back, so I cannot be sure of its source or complete accuracy. One would also think China's rapid growth makes the final claim uncertain. The devil is not in the details but rather, the grand scheme. It is not our economic capability that is causing problems today, but rather, the narrow channels of capital distribution, and institutional lending practices in the mold of Shylock.