The Economist has put up an interesting map of the world, which looks at poverty vs wealth through a rather unusual prism. Not that the results are any different from what you'd expect them to be. Societies that have wealth have it better than those that don't no matter what parameter you choose to measure it by, and no matter how much some people in the wealthy societies like to kvetch about how bad everything is for everyone except the privileged few.
Still, I do have a few comments.
1. Israel is so small that it doesn't even appear on the map. So much for expansionist colonial land grabbing imperialists.
2. Were Israel to appear on the map, it's color would be the same as the rest of the wealthy.
3. Iran, Israel's arch-fiend of the moment, is in the camp of the poorest, in spite of having all that oil. Whatever they are meant for, Iran's massive armament efforts (including this overtly and unambiguously aggressive program) are not intended to improve the lives of the Iranian citizenry.
4. The same goes for Iraq, though in a different way, of course. While it does seem that the Iraqis are slowly but surely getting their act together, they spent a ghastly 5 years on all sorts of other things that seemed to have a higher priority than getting on with life. (I planted this little nugget to provoke the usual suspects. Heh.)
5. Saudi Arabia and the other Gulf folks. Remember them? The ones pulling in $136 per barrel of crude, down by $9 from last week poor fellows? This is what happens when you have a society with a small group of ultra rich at the top, and then everyone else below them including a large caste of disenfranchised laborers.
6. South America looks dreary. I don't know much about South America, but so far as I know they've been on the sidelines of most of the larger calamities of world history these past 150 years or so so you'd think they might have had the opportunity to fix things. Since we've got our own Argentinian here among the frequent commentors, I wonder if I can ask Ibrahim to explain to us why his country is in such bad shape. (And try, Ibrahim, not to put all the blame on the CIA or even the generals, who were last in charge some decades ago).
7. Why is Japan where it is? Beats me.
8. Perhaps the single most interesting country on the entire map is Uganda. Disconnected from its entire continent and most of the next continent, with a disastrous political past that exceeds even Argentina's for destructiveness, Uganda is right up there with the rich boys. Yoweri Musaveni or somebody, must be doing something right. Which just goes to show that if you put your mind to it, you actually can drag yourself up by your shoestrings.