Why Korea Can’t Replicate Germany’s Reunification

It has made geopolitical sense since their establishment in 1948 for North and South Korea to find a way to get along and tap into their joint potential, and yet they haven’t, because peaceful reunification is exceedingly difficult to achieve.

Support for Political Parties in Germany

Jan. 18, 2016 Germany is facing internal political shifts that could ultimately impact the country’s relationship with Europe. Public support for the Euroskeptic, anti-migrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) political party increased from only 4 percent in July 2015 to 11.5 percent in January 2016. With federal elections coming up in 2017, mainstream German political parties are under pressure to compete with forces outside of the traditional mainstream. At the same time, Europe’s crises are accentuating divisions inside Germany’s ruling coalition between the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Social Democratic Party (SDP), especially when it comes to the country’s refugee policies.

What Tax Trends Tell Us About the Russian Economy

Dec. 1, 2017 Russia boasts both a consolidated budget and a federal budget. The consolidated budget is a combination of the federal budget, which is controlled by Moscow, and Russia’s regional budgets. The federal budget, which is only one part of the consolidated budget, is developed, approved and spent by the central government.

U.S. State International Exports

Sept. 3, 2016 When we speak about the U.S. economy, we often pay less attention to the economies of the individual states. The states, however, are also political and economic entities. California, for example, would have roughly the seventh largest GDP in the world if it were a country. To understand the U.S. economy, you have to be able to see both the forest and the trees.

This week’s graphic demonstrates the level of dependency each U.S. state has on exports and breaks down each state’s top three international trading partners. Overall, the economy of the United States is not reliant on exports, which made up a mere 12.6 percent of GDP in 2015. Only five states, including Louisiana (20.18 percent), Washington (19.48 percent) and Texas (15.79 percent), get more of their GDP from exports than the national average. The most common export destinations for U.S. states are Canada, Mexico and China.

Colonial Powers in Sub-Saharan Africa

June 4, 2016 European powers strongly shaped the geopolitics of contemporary sub-Saharan Africa. In the colonial era, they saw sub-Saharan Africa as a means to an end, initially encountering the continent as they looked for sea trading routes to India and East Asia. France, Great Britain, Portugal, Germany and Belgium had the largest presence.

From the 16th century through the 18th century, major European governments established ports to support long voyages to the East Indies. When we look at the location of former colonies, we can observe how each location served as a resting and refueling point in the long journey east.

China’s Gross Regional Product

Jan. 27, 2017 The average annual per capita disposal income by household in China in 2014 was about 20,000 yuan or approximately $3,000, which equates to $8.22 a day. On the surface, that seems to be a somewhat promising figure. It wouldn’t make any of these households rich or even lower-middle class by American standards, but it would be quite a leap forward from where they started. In 1981, the year the World Bank began tracking poverty in China, 88.3 percent of China’s population lived on less than $1.90 a day.

Coups in Africa Since 1950

A recent failed coup in Gabon is just the latest attempt to overthrow an African government.

China: Between Dynasties and Warlords

May 21, 2016 Chinese civilization is one of the world’s oldest. Communities began to form on the Yellow and Yangtze rivers thousands of years ago. By 2,000 B.C., dynasties had emerged and lasted in various forms until the Qing were deposed in 1912. The People’s Republic of China is the heir to this long history, and as is often the case, understanding China’s past is a crucial part of forecasting China’s future.

Although China’s history is long and complex, the story of China’s rise is essentially two stories that repeat themselves over and over again. China is incredibly diverse in terms of the cultures and languages that have developed within its modern-day borders. Despite this diversity, there have been periods when a ruler emerged who was strong enough to unite the disparate parts of the country. These dynasties may rule for hundreds of years, only for China’s internal divisions to reassert themselves and cause fragmentation and regionalization.


US Perception of Immigrants

March 15, 2016 This week’s graphic shows American perceptions about immigrants based on their region of origin. Recent studies reveal that a portion of U.S. society increasingly mistrusts immigrants. In the last year, multiple polls have shown a rising concern over immigration among Americans. While these surveys asked slightly different questions, the collective results illustrate that a notable amount of Americans are wary of immigrants in the country. Such mistrust of and opposition to immigration is nothing new in U.S. history. Groups and political movements promoting some element of nativism – a political or social preference for the established inhabitants of a country over immigrants – have existed almost as long as the country itself.


The World at Night

April 18, 2016 Having used a satellite-based map to show the underdevelopment of North Korea a couple weeks ago, it seemed a good idea to provide a similar map of the entire world. In this map, we are showing the most intense areas of light to capture the areas of the world that are most developed.

This map also identifies areas with high population density. It shows us the places that have both development and high population density. In looking at this map, for example, the American heartland is still east of the Mississippi. Canada in this sense is a thin strip of land north of the American border, which is understandable given that temperatures in much of Canada are extremely cold, making the area inhospitable for human settlement. If you draw maps based on the amount of lighting, massive countries like Canada and Australia become smaller and more compact…