So Ukraine is even more of a mess and in less than a week’s time, the Crimean people will vote in a referendum on whether they want to remain a part of Ukraine or rejoin Russia. This graphic of mine is an attempt to answer some questions—though hardly all I wanted—about Ukraine, Crimea, and about what the Russians have been doing. (To be fair, the Russians still don’t admit that the troops and soldiers are theirs. But really, I mean come on, we all know they are.)
The West hesitates to use military force to push Russian troops out of Crimea. Likely with good reason as any such campaign would be neither cheap nor bloodless in addition to running the risk of spreading beyond the borders of Ukraine. So that leaves diplomatic and economic isolation. Diplomatic isolation is already underway—the G8 conference to be hosted in Sochi this summer is all but dead. But economic isolation is still being discussed.
The United States is generally in favour, but Europe—namely Germany—has been more cautious. But as my graphic shows, without Europe a sanctions regime would be largely toothless since half of Russia’s exports go to Europe. Except that Russia is also responsible for a significant proportion of Europe’s imported natural gas and sanctions on Russia could cause an interruption in that fuel to Western Europe. Naturally, most of that natural gas is, of course, transported through pipelines running across Ukraine.
A lot of things happened in Ukraine this past weekend. Unfortunately, I was not able to quite capture all of the events and the background I wanted. So, until I do, this quick graphic will have to suffice. In short, Ukraine is a big European country, one of the largest prizes remaining in the struggle between the West/EU and the East/Russia. I took a look at the forecast for Ukraine in 2050 for both number of people and the size of the economy and put that in the context of Europe. And while forecasting that far out clearly has risks, one can see with a grain of salt that Ukraine is set to be an important middle-sized European nation.
But, like I said, there is more to do. I just was not able to do it.
Today’s piece comes from Bloomberg Businessweek. In the wake of the Pentagon’s decision to push for budget cuts including force reduction and slashing several programmes, I decided to show this chord diagram that shows how the defence industry supports itself.
Credit for the piece goes to Robert Levinson, Dorothy Gambrell, and David Evans.
Last week, the Swiss people narrowly rejected the principle of freedom of movement. This principles serves as one of the foundations of the European Union. And while Switzerland does not belong to the EU, its economy benefits from access to the single market via that freedom of movement principle. That may be an oversimplification perhaps, but it provides some context to the consternation in Europe over the Swiss people rejecting the principle.
This graphic is not particularly complex. It is a choropleth of the vote results. However, it does show that the vote was not unanimous. Rather it was contained to the cantons (analogous to states in the US) more rural in character, i.e. less urban places like Geneva.
Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.
Not “the Ukraine” as it is (admittedly) fun to do in pop-culture references to Seinfeld. This comes from the Washington Post and the article tries to show that the protests in Kiev are not necessarily a vast majority against the government. Certainly the opposition is strong, but there is also a very strong pro-government movement. Why? Because in the broadest of senses, Ukraine is where the West, i.e. the European Union, meets the East, i.e. Russia.
Credit for putting this all together goes to Max Fisher. Credit for each of the original graphics is to their respective designers whom I cannot identify.
Last week the New York Times published a nice interactive about the minimum wage and just how difficult it is to live on it. (We will for now spare the charts that show how the actual purchasing power has declined over the years.) First you pick your state because not every state pays the same minimum wage. Then as you begin to enter figures for your expenses, or a hypothetical person as in this screenshot, you find how quickly a minimum wage earner runs out of money. And then how much debt they owe and how much more they have to work to pay it off.
Credit for the piece goes to Jeremy Ashkenas.
This piece from the Washington Post examines the idea of economic mobility. That is, what is the likelihood that children born and raised in an impoverished family will surpass their parents’ standard of living.
Credit for the piece goes to Darla Cameron and Ted Mellnik.
The Olympics opened in Sochi this past weekend. Many of us may well be familiar with photographs of urinals without piping, or unfinished hotel rooms, or many other infrastructure problems, but there is a bigger issue facing Sochi. It exists on what the New York Times terms the edge of a war zone. Their overall piece is more text-heavy than graphic-heavy, but several maps lend context to this complicated region of the Russian Federation. If you’re curious to better understand the region, this is a good primer.
Credit for the piece goes to the New York Times graphics department.
Today’s post looks at education across a set of 65 countries from a standardised test backed by the OECD, basically a group of wealthy countries. The test results found that some poor countries have surprisingly good education systems whereas some of the world’s wealthiest countries—here’s looking at you, United States—perform poorly. The Huffington Post created this graphic to plot the data.
I really enjoy this piece. It plots each income decile’s results, blocks the countries into OECD members versus their partners, and then each country’s average socioeconomic status is shown as being above or below the OECD average. This is the type of piece I see as a static image that I would want to see made interactively—though I fully understand how difficult and time-consuming that can be—so that I could begin to filter and re-arrange the data. Could discoveries be made by organising countries by geographic regions? Could one just look at the top or bottom deciles?
Credit for the piece goes to Jan Diehm.