Fooling oneself with

I have put together some charts using data available at GDP data. Collating this made me feel as if I was paying homage to Kurosawa’s Rashmon, to Dobelli’s “Art of thinking clearly”, to the five blind men and their elephant and to Birbal (or was it Tennali Raman) dealing with the man who lost his ring someplace but was searching for it under a lamp because that is where the light was. Of course, the bard said a “rose by any other name would smell as sweet” but then that was before social media and whatsapp.

The Data

All the data here is from the same source and a single table. I have been selective about which years to show (the x axis) and what to compare with (the graph lines).

The first graph here has data till 2015 while the rest have till 2016.

I feel each of these can be used to paint a different truth. What do you think?

Kinda shows how important it is for one to look at things from different angles and think for oneself.

Different politicians could use this data to make any claim they want to make.

I don’t want to attempt to provide a narrative for this. All I want to say is that any narrative that doesn’t account for all these is at best incomplete, and, more likely than not, intentionally deceptive.

If this data is of interest, maybe you should look at it with one eye on the population charts. Here is a good source: Population charts.

The population data makes the sense of feel good that creeps into the data after 1990, disappear in a hurry. That said, the population data is also stunning. The first thing I noticed is that the number of humans who were not Indian or Chinese was 1.9 billion in 1960 while now it is 4.74 billion. Like that or maybe don’t like that? Same data says that in the same period, the fraction of the population that was Indian or Chinese went from .372 to .362. Feels very different eh? OK, how about this. In the same period, Indian population went from being about 15% of the world population to about 18%.

Fooling myself

An eye opener for me was the way the graphs for many countries turned around 1990. For long I attributed India’s uptick to liberalization (though I used to oppose it in the beginning and then became more ambivalent) but when I saw the graphs of the other countries, I realized my understanding was at best partial.