Smoking Trees in Belize: The one thing Oklahoma and the Philippines have in common

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

The one thing Oklahoma and the Philippines have in common

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