Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Country Human Development Rank

The Economist has an interesting thought exercise about Venezuela and Chavez lies even if none of them is mentioned.  In the chart below, using available data, The Economist has tried to imagine where would the different US states rank in the world Human Development Index if each one tomorrow became an independent nation.

Quite surprising no?  Mississippi, US 50th, above Italy, world 25th!

My point is that on occasion Chavez loves to point out how Venezuela is rising in such ranking games (with data offered by the regime, data that cannot be audited, data that international organizations accept at face value because, well, no one can conceive a government able to fraud and fudge tot he extent the Venezuelan does).   Well, The Economist does not bother taking us, Venezuela, into account, not even Chile, our top of the class.  On occasion also Chavez tells us how the US is unfair and has extensive pockets of poverty that the glorious bolivarian revolution must help rescue.  For example giving discount heating oil to misery laden Massachusetts (not in the table but certainly comparable to neighboring New York at position 6 or Connecticut at position 1).  Or bemoaning the fate of the poor in the South with Mississippi maybe at 50, is above Italy and quite close to Britain that no one in Venezuelan imaginary would consider a poor country...  Heck, even Texas is above socialist Denmark!

Maybe Chavez can arrange for me to be traded for someone equivalent, education and responsibility wise, in Jackson Mississipi.  The way things are going in Venezuela I am willing to consider the swap.


  1. Anonymous10:10 PM

    Daniel- please come to Texas instead. Life is sooooooooo easy and so much cheaper than Venezuela. And the people are so friendly, in general. I see you in Austin actually.

    Thanks for this posting. As a US expat living in Venezuela for some years, and elsewhere, and recalling what a good quality life we had in Puerto la Cruz in the late 90's, we have an objective view. We have been in and out of Venezuela and are not the "frog in the boiling water" people as the populace of Venezuela has seemed to become. Venezuela will be much longer in getting back on this human development list than it took to leave it (if they were ever there)

  2. anonymous

    thanks for the invite but i think i pass. i like sea and mountains and winter and my US turf would be washington state, and anywhere from providence to bar harbor. i could consider denver and baltimore too. and manhattan if i could afford it, not NYC, manhattan.

    not to mention that as a liberal, you know, texas might not be the best place for me : there is something about tar and feathers that does not bring out my complexion...... :)

  3. Daniel, you've heard too many stereotypes about Texas.,8599,1947648,00.html

    But there's no hiding it, Houston is FLAT. And hot. There's no mountains for hundreds and hundreds of miles.

  4. When Texas and Florida sign their MDAP (Mutual Defense Agression Pact) Ilinois is dead meat.

    But yeah, I see what you mean.

  5. Viva Terlingua!

  6. Lemmy Caution8:57 AM

    Something is odd with the numbers of the other nations.
    For example: Czech Republic doesn't have a higher HDI than France!

  7. Lemmy

    Let me caution you on wikipedia. I have not read the entry you mention, which might be right for all that I know, but I have been burned by wikipedia too often, in particular by stuff which makes a country look better than an other. The wiki pages on Venezuela are notoriously unreliable, e.g.

    This being said the index is "human development" meaning quantifying more stuff than just GDP and consumption rates an as such it is not that impossible that the Czech republic could outpace France. For example it does not have the large illegal immigrant crowds that are a problem for France and Britain to integrate. So, if it true that a resident of Neully in France lives better than any Czech, it might just be true that the average inhabitant of Czechia might be slightly better off than the average inhabitant of France. After all the Czech were possibly the more organized denizens of the Soviet Block and seem to have been the ones that recovered the fastest. 20 years of EU participation certainly had their benefits.

  8. Well, I find that chart very silly. No offense, the US (or Norway or whatever) could have all states in position 1 to 50, but comparing countries and states when it comes to HDI is plainly ridiculous. HDI is an index on indexes, so to speak. It is normal that a country with top HDI values, most of its parts will have top values as well, even if there is variance.
    It would be the same in Germany, Norway, etc, etc.
    It is not like total production or something like that. For instance, it is interesting to see economy size, in which case we see California being one of the top "countries" on Earth.
    I wonder if Aftenbladet (Norway) would publish a chart showing the HDI if all counties were nations.

    I wrote about the HDI and what I did was to compare the position of Venezuela before the milico came to power, in 2003 and now. Venezuela is lagging behind, it has been overtaken by 5 Latin American countries...that even if we know the HDI stats are based on what Chavistas tell.

  9. calm down kepler!

    the economist presents this as a thought exercise, not a perfect statistical tool. read the article.


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