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Thursday, July 13, 2006

Gapminder.org: see how the world is developing

It's about a year since the Live8 concerts, and the last time I posted on global development. Recently I found a real eye-opener.

First, watch this video. It's a presentation by a guy called Hans Rosling, a public health expert from Sweden. It's an amusing and dramatic illustration of the truth behind development statistics - you cannot make generalisations, every continent and country is different. Although not highlighted especially in the talk, what struck me was the passing reference to teh fact that the countries that had develloped the most in recent times were those that had embraced free trade.

I've said it before and I'll say it again: anti-free-trade campaigners are trying to hold back the development of countries, and are harming people's lives.

After you've viewed the talk, have a play with the Gapminder software, which is actually hosted by Google. It doesn't quite do all the things seen in the presentation - you can't look at development within countries, for example, but nonetheless it's a fascinating and very revealing way to explore global development. Highly recommended.

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