Archive for the ‘Surveys’ Category
Robert Levine – A Geography of Time
The Temporal Misadventures of a Social Psychologist, or How Every Culture Keeps Time Just a Little Bit Differently
(…) As Miles Davis said, “Time isn’t the main thing. It’s the only thing.” How we construct and use our time, in the end, defines the texture and quality of our existence. To seize control over the structure of one’s time is my own definition of what it means, as it is said in the Tibetan Book of the Dead, to avoid “devoting thyself to the useless doings of this life.” And that, more than anything, is what I have taken away from my studies of the time senses of other cultures. Borrowing again from Russell Banks’s image of Hawthorne’s Wakefield: I had moved out of my house and this is what appeared when I looked back to “see what’s true there.” Simply that. (…)
In each country, we went into one or more of the major cities in order to measure three indicators of the tempo of life.
First, we measured the average walking speed of randomly selected pedestrians over a distance of 60 feet.
The second experiment focused on an example of speed in the workplace: the time it took postal clerks to fulfill a standard request for stamps. In each city, we presented clerks with a note in the local language requesting a common stamp—the now standard 32-center in the United States, for example. They were also handed paper money—the equivalent of a $5 bill. We measured the elapsed time between the passing of the note and the completion of the request.
Third, as an estimate of a city’s interest in clock time, we observed the accuracy of 15 randomly selected bank clocks in main downtown areas in each city. Times on the 15 clocks were compared to those reported by the phone company.
The three scores for each country were then statistically combined into an overall pace-of-life score.
We can speculate about the direction of causality between the tempo of life and economic conditions. Most likely, the arrow points both ways. Places with active economies put greater value on time, and places that value time will be more likely to have active economies. Economic variables and the tempo tend to be mutually reinforcing; they come in a package.
It is one of the great ironies of modern times that, with all of our time-saving creations, people have less time to themselves than ever before. Life in the Middle Ages is usually portrayed as bleak and dreary, but one commodity people had more of than their successors was leisure time. Until the Industrial Revolution, in fact, most evidence suggests that people showed little inclination to work. In Europe through the Middle Ages, the average number of holidays per year was around 115 days. It is interesting to note that still today, poorer countries take more holidays, on the average,than richer ones.
Our results confirmed the hypothesis: greater individualism was highly related to faster tempos.
How we define and measure our time does, in fact, border on the religious. And people do not change religions lightly.
Since our own study found a very strong relationship between economic vitality and the pace of life, we hypothesized that this should also lead to a positive relationship between the pace of life and happiness. And this is exactly what we found: in all of our pace-of-life experiments, people in faster places were more likely to be satisfied with their lives.
It is in the middle ground between too much and too little pressure that people enter the experience, described in an earlier chapter, called “flow.” When Csikszentmihalyi kept tabs on people by having them wear beepers, asking them at frequent intervals what they were engaged in and how good they felt, the most positive reports came when people were in moderately challenging activities that engaged their skills. People doing too many things at once tended to be overstressed. But those who were doing nothing at all experienced little sense of flow and little pleasure. Many contemporary psychologists believe the flow experience is an important key to a happy and satisfying life. Studies have shown that flow experiences are not only exhilarating but empowering: they raise self-esteem, competence, and one’s overall sense of well-being.
My own studies, we have seen, point to the mixed consequences of a rapid pace of life. People in faster environments are more prone to potentially deleterious stress, as evidenced by higher rates of coronary heart disease; but they are also more likely to achieve a comfortable standard of living and, at least in part because of this, are more satisfied with their lives as a whole.
Download the full pdf here. (C) 1997 Robert Levine All rights reserved.
(received 12.07.2013 at http://www.cycle-planet.com/paleo/AGeographyofTime.pdf)
Only 30% of the world now has a higher GDP per capita than China (2013)
In many ways, what we are witnessing is not the ‘emergence of Asia’, but the ‘re-emergence of Asia’
(…) In 1820, Asia accounted for just under 60 per cent of total global output, with China and India together accounting for nearly half of global GDP. This was followed by nearly two centuries of economic decline in Asia, ignited by the European industrial revolution—a trend that has now been reversed. (…)
Jayant Menon, ADB
/retrieved 09.06.2013 at http://www.eastasiaforum.org/2013/06/09/asia-yet-to-earn-its-future/)
(retrieved 09.06.2013 at http://adnanramin.wordpress.com/2013/06/02/racism/)
China’s economic achievement is so enormous, indeed literally without parallel in human history, that it is sometimes difficult for people to take in its scale. A country which in 1978, when “reform and opening up” was launched, was one of the poorest in the world, has now reached a point where it has a higher GDP per capita than the countries containing the majority of the world’s population. Only 30 per cent of the world’s population now lives in countries with higher per capita GDP than China.
To give absolutely precise numbers, drawing on the newly published data for the world economy in 2012 released by the IMF, the chart shows that by 2012, only 30.2 per cent of the world’s population lived in countries with a higher GDP per capita than China, while 50.2 per cent lived in countries with a lower one. China itself constituted 19.6 per cent of the world’s population at this time.
China is, therefore, now in the top half of the world as far as economic development is concerned, and to avoid any suggestions of exaggeration, it should be made clear that these comparisons are at the current market exchange rate measures usually used in China – although calculations in parity purchasing powers (PPPs), which are the measure preferred by the majority of Western economists, makes no significant difference to the result.
The chart also illustrates China’s extraordinary progress. In 1978, when “reform and opening up” began, only 0.5 per cent of the global population lived in countries with a lower GDP per capita than China, while 73.5 per cent lived in countries with a higher GDP per capita. The transition to a situation where China has overtaken the majority of the world’s population in per capita GDP is the greatest economic transformation in human history, both in terms of the short time frame required and number of people affected.
Given that the data clearly shows China has progressed into the top half of the world economy in terms of economic development, why do some persist with misrepresenting China as being “in the middle” or even more misleadingly dubbing it a “poor” country by international standards?
Such misrepresentations make elementary statistical errors which are familiar to those who analyse income distribution data. For example the following argument is sometimes presented: The IMF World Economic Outlook database gives GDP per capita statistics for 188 countries with China ranking 94th – therefore China is “in the middle”. Another sometimes-cited statistic compares China to the world average – in 2012 China’s GDP per capita was 59 per cent of this average figure – making China appear a “poor” country.
The problem with this “list” method is that it does not take population into account. For example, the Caribbean state St Kitts and Nevis, population 57,000, has a higher GDP per capita than China while India, population 1.223 billion, has a lower one. To say China is “between the two”, as though St Kitts and Nevis and India represent equivalent weights in the world economy, is playing games with words rather than carrying out serious analysis. This elementary statistical rule is particularly relevant given that the number of developed economies with small populations is disproportionately large. The population of countries must therefore be taken into account when calculating China’s real relative position in the world economy.
The second mistake, comparing China to the “average”, makes an error so well known in income distribution statistics that it is somewhat surprising anyone gives it any credence, let alone continues to propose it.
Statisticians know that averages, technically speaking the “mean”, can be disproportionately affected by small numbers of extreme values. It is well known that this applies to incomes within countries as small numbers of billionaires artificially raise average incomes in a way that misrepresents the real situation.
This statistical distortion is clear from international data. Average world GDP per capita, that is world GDP divided by the number of people, is slightly more than $10,000 per year. But only 29.9 per cent of the world’s population lives in countries with GDP per capita above that level while 70.1 per cent live in countries below it. Something with only 29.9 per cent above and 70.1 per cent below is not most people’s idea of an average!
What most people understand by an average, the mid-point, is, in proper statistical terms, not the average but the median. Reputable studies on income distribution, therefore, almost invariably use the median, not averages, to avoid this distorting effect of small numbers of extreme values. Using the statistically misleading average, instead of the mid-point, bizarrely transforms the real situation – that China now has a GDP per capita above that of the majority of the world’s population – into giving the impression that China is a poor country!
There are three main reasons why it is important to accurately present China’s level of development.
First, policy must be based on accurate analysis – in serious matters there is no virtue in either optimism or pessimism, only in realism. As the famous Chinese phrase tells us, it is better to seek truth from facts.
Second, accurate presentation is necessary to clearly understand the real economic challenges China faces. For example China’s GDP per capita is now higher than all developing South and South East Asian countries except Malaysia – clarifying why any competitive strategy for China based on low wages is unviable.
Third, China’s position in the top half of the world in terms of GDP per capita makes clear its technological level – China’s economy is now dominated by medium, not low, technology.
Does an accurate presentation of China’s real level of development endanger its international legal status as a developing economy? The World Bank has not yet published new criteria for the GDP per capita necessary to qualify as an “advanced” economy, but the 2011 criteria and statistical data is available and it tells us that the answer to the question is “no”. To classify as “high income”, an economy must have an annual GDP per capita of slightly more than $12,000. Only 16 per cent of the world’s population lives in such economies. It will take 10-15 years for China to achieve “high income” status – although when it does this will more than double the number of people living in such economies.
Achieving the “Chinese dream” requires that the present reality is accurately understood. China has entered the top half of the world’s level of economic development. Only 30 per cent of the world’s population lives in countries with a higher GDP per capita than China. That is the accurate analysis of China’s relative position in the world economy. To achieve the “Chinese dream” requires eliminating not only any exaggerated bombast but also any systematic underestimation
This article originally appeared in Chinese at Sina Finance and in English at China.org.cn.
Is Visiting Professor at Antai College of Economics and Management, Jiao Tong University, Shanghai
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(retrieved 25.05.2013 at http://ablog.typepad.com/keytrendsinglobalisation/2013/05/only-30-of-the-world-now-has-a-higher-gdp-per-capita-than-china.html)
Read more about China and it’s economy from John Ross
Key Trends in Globalisation
Seek truth from facts – 实事求是 (Chinese saying originally from the Han dynasty)
World Economic Outlook (WEO) – International Monetary Fund – Survey 2013
(above retrieved 25.05.2013 at http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2013/01/, http://www.imf.org/external/pubs/ft/weo/2013/01/pdf/text.pdf, https://laofutze.files.wordpress.com/2013/05/world-economic-outlook-april-2013.pdf)
What that dramatic economic shift means to people, describes Onionjuggler in her Force Feeding Duck Style:
A student told me this story as part of a midterm last year, and I thought it was so cute I would share it with you.
For her fifth birthday, Helen’s* mother wanted to make her a special dinner. She lived in the country, and at that time everyone was very poor, so meat was hard to come by. Her mother had to take the day off to travel to a different town to buy some pork, and in the end was only able to afford enough meat for Helen– the rest of the family would have to make due with the usual vegetables and noodles.
That night, Helen was so excited to eat her fancy dinner. But when her mother handed her the bowl, her older brother pointed at it and said, “Look out! There is a spider on the bottom of the bowl!”
Helen tipped the bowl over to look for the spider, and poured her whole dinner onto the dirty floor. Her mother scolded her brother, but she couldn’t salvage the dinner. Poor Helen cried and cried, and she never forgot that birthday.
*Her real name isn’t Helen– that’s just the name she chose for class.
(retrieved 25.05.2013 at http://onionjuggler.wordpress.com/2013/05/20/a-short-story/)
China in 2050
(retrieved 13.07.2013 at http://de.ce.cn/photo/right/201211/21/t20121121_597748.shtml)
Jerry Ropelato`s article about the world`s revenues of internet pornography (2006)
It is obvious, that Korea spends an enormous sum on internet pornography. Why is that so? Read an analysis about Korean sexuality from the Humboldt Universität Berlin here or visit their website http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/IES/southkorea.html
For sexuality in other countries refer to the index: http://www2.hu-berlin.de/sexology/IES/index-countries.html
Japan and China are following Korea in a distance. Pornography is officially prohibited in China, so the official numbers displayed only show the top of the iceberg. Obviously the Confucian values play a major role in internet pornography.
How economically successful are different religions in the USA?
(retrieved 05.01.2013 at http://www.pewforum.org/Income-Distribution-Within-US-Religious-Groups.aspx)
Immigrants and their income in the US 2010
Immigrant’s Top Ten Countries or Origin and the Top Ten Destination Countries 2010
Religious Breakdown of Migrants 2010
(retrieved 05.01.2013 at http://www.pewforum.org/geography/religious-migration-united-states.aspx)
PEW Survey: How Westeners and Muslims view each other
.(…) A rare point of agreement between Westerners and Muslims is that both believe that Muslim nations should be more economically prosperous than they are today. But at https://laofutze.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/pewsurveymuslimsinwesternworld.pdf) they gauge ths problem quite differently. Muslim publics have an aggrieved view of the West – they are much more likely than Americans or Western Europeans to blame Western policies for their own lack of prosperity. For their part, Western publics instead point to government corruption, lack of education and Islamic fundamentalism as the biggest obstacles to Muslim prosperity. (…)
(retrieved 19.06.2014 at https://laofutze.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/pewsurveymuslimsinwesternworld.pdf)
PEW- Forum: http://www.pewforum.org/