Map Of The Day

This map (click to enlarge) is an interesting depiction of what is essentially the area containing the world’s Top 50 cities as measured by quality of life. What interested me is the extent to which most of the conflict areas in the world also happens to be areas where this “super-developed” world butts up against other parts of the planet.



FILED UNDER: World Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. John Burgess says:

    They missed the wall between Saudi Arabia (developed, more or less) and Yemen (still aiming at the 14th C.). The wall does not run the length of the entire border, but exists in areas that see the most frequent illegal immigration/smuggling, i.e., in the KSA’s southwest.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    There’s a non-trivial overlap between this and Tom Barnett’s The Pentagon’s New Map. Tom characterizes the “Walled World” as “the Core” and most of the rest as “the Gap”. China, India, a few others he calls “near Core”.

  3. Tylerh says:

    Since when has the US- Mexico border qualified as a “heavy guarded border zone” Twelve year olds regularly cross that line.

    Did I miss the joke somewhere?

  4. lunaticllama says:

    @Dave Schuler: Structural international relations scholars (yes, they are by and large socialists) have been using the core/periphery distinction between the global North and South for decades now. Cool map.

  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Any map that says Fairbanks AK or Anchorage AK or Yellowknife NW Territories are among the top 50 cities in the world….

    Really Doug, (and everyone else here) do you ever actually look and see? Read and understand?

    I am not sure exactly what they are trying to say, but I look at that map and read “Anchorage is a better city than Moscow/Cairo/Riyadh/all the UAE/Santiago/Buenos Aires/ Rio de Janerio/ etc ad nauseum.” Anchorage isn’t even a cow town, it is a moose town.

  6. Ben says:


    I don’t see Fairbanks, Anchorage or Yellowknife as marked with the yellow dots above …

  7. JKB says:

    Oh, look it is a map of where there is the rule of law in regards to property rights, especially the right to profit from an idea, i.e., patent law.

    It’s easier if you just read the review for The Mystery of Capital: Why Capitalism Triumphs in the West and Fails Everywhere Else by Herman de Soto

    It’s become clear by now the fall of the Berlin Wall and the collapse of communism in most places around the globe hasn’t ushered in an unequivocal flowering of capitalism in the developing and postcommunist world. Western thinkers have blamed this on everything from these countries’ lack of sellable assets to their inherently non-entrepreneurial “mindset.” In this book, the renowned Peruvian economist and adviser to presidents and prime ministers Hernando de Soto proposes and argues another reason: it’s not that poor, postcommunist countries don’t have the assets to make capitalism flourish. As de Soto points out by way of example, in Egypt, the wealth the poor have accumulated is worth 55 times as much as the sum of all direct foreign investment ever recorded there, including that spent on building the Suez Canal and the Aswan Dam.
    No, the real problem is that such countries have yet to establish and normalize the invisible network of laws that turns assets from “dead” into “liquid” capital. In the West, standardized laws allow us to mortgage a house to raise money for a new venture, permit the worth of a company to be broken up into so many publicly tradable stocks, and make it possible to govern and appraise property with agreed-upon rules that hold across neighborhoods, towns, or regions. This invisible infrastructure of “asset management”–so taken for granted in the West, even though it has only fully existed in the United States for the past 100 years–is the missing ingredient to success with capitalism, insists de Soto. But even though that link is primarily a legal one, he argues that the process of making it a normalized component of a society is more a political–or attitude-changing–challenge than anything else.

    With a fleet of researchers, de Soto has sought out detailed evidence from struggling economies around the world to back up his claims. The result is a fascinating and solidly supported look at the one component that’s holding much of the world back from developing healthy free markets. –Timothy Murphy

    But not to worry, efforts are already underway to undermine those attributes that raised mankind, even many in the outside area, above fighting for survival and permitted time for far to many to engage in navel gazing, i.e., the industrial and innovation revolutions, exploitation of mechanical energy and the rule of law.