Where the Action Is

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When you look at the geographic map of the world, you’re actually looking at several major distortions.  First, unless you’re looking at a globe, the map will show Antarctica, Greenland, Iceland, Canada and Australia as much larger than they actually are, while equatorial areas like the middle of South America and pretty much all of Africa appear diminished from their actual size.

The map also makes some of the larger countries look more significant to the world’s affairs than they actually are.  The accompanying map here shows the nations of the world enlarged or diminished proportionately according to their population, rather than their land mass, which is actually a much better measure of which countries have the most (current and future) impact economically.  By this measure, nations like Canada, Australia and especially Russia suddenly become relatively small, while southern Asia, Mexico and Indonesia expand dramatically.  Europe, the U.S. and Brazil are, interestingly, roughly the same size on both maps.

About the Author: Bob Veres has been a commentator, author and consultant in the financial services industry for more than 20 years.  Over his 20-year career in the financial services world, Mr. Veres has worked as editor of Financial Planning magazine; as a contributing editor to the Journal of Financial Planning; as a columnist and editor-at-large of Dow Jones Investment Advisor magazine; and as editor of Morningstar’s advisor web site: MorningstarAdvisor.com.

Mr. Veres has been named one of the most influential people in the financial planning profession by Investment Advisor magazine and Financial Planning magazine, was granted the NAPFA Special Achievement Award by the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors, and most recently the Heart of Financial Planning Distinguished Service Award from the Denver-based Financial Planning Association. 

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This is what the world looks like if you scale countries by population

TeaDranks made a great cartogram showing the entire world with every country’s size scaled to its population. One neat thing about this one is that unlike with some cartograms, the basic shapes of the countries are very recognizable. Such low-population, large-area Anglophone nations as Canada and Australia nearly vanish from the map, though, while the nations of the Indian subcontinent swell enormously.

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