Pressing Home the Benefits of Globalization

You may already have seen this. It’s a couple of years old. But if you haven’t I urge you to set aside 15 minutes to watch one of the most interesting, informative, and amazing things you may ever have seen. From Hans Rosling at TED:

Hat tip: QandO Blog

There are a number of observations worth making about this. First, the content. The presentation makes the argument convincingly, entertainingly, and, I think, incontrovertibly that globalization has made the world a healthier, wealthier, juster, and better place. Remember that as you hear the campaign speeches of political candidates. I know that you have to say a lot of stupid things to get elected but we need to remember that the anti-globalization pitches are simply untrue.

Second, the form of the presentation. This presentation is a wonderful illustration of some of the points I’ve been making about visualcy. I believe we’re becoming or have already become a post-literate society in which the printed word isn’t the primary modality for conveying or obtaining information. This development has cognitive, social, and political implications and I believe we’re already seeing them.

Finally, a business observation. The presentation was built using the Trendalyzer software acquired by Google in March, 2007. I think this is one component of the presentation software of the future, other components being the ability to introduce the elements of the developing world of visual communication as easily as PowerPoint allows the user to incorporate words, images, and sounds into presentations today. I doubt that PowerPoint is already that tool. I think it bears about the same relationship to the presentation tools of the future that VisiCalc does to the spreadsheet programs of today.

FILED UNDER: Economics and Business, World Politics, , ,
Dave Schuler
About Dave Schuler
Over the years Dave Schuler has worked as a martial arts instructor, a handyman, a musician, a cook, and a translator. He's owned his own company for the last thirty years and has a post-graduate degree in his field. He comes from a family of politicians, teachers, and vaudeville entertainers. All-in-all a pretty good preparation for blogging. He has contributed to OTB since November 2006 but mostly writes at his own blog, The Glittering Eye, which he started in March 2004.


  1. MarkT says:

    the anti-globalization pitches are simply untrue

    Really? There’s no downside to globalization? Cool!

    As with the PETA story from a few days ago, if you don’t explicitly acknowledge that there is a downside, then you tacitly approve of the hardship faced by displaced workers as their jobs move overseas.

    More seriously… The video you linked to is great. I do training for a living and the video made the rounds of all my trainer friends a few years back. There is a whole .org for “visual thinkers” that you might like to connect with: ifvp.

  2. Dave Schuler says:

    Of course there’s a downside. There’s a downside for every choice. But I think the advantages outweigh the disadvantages and the presentation is a wonderful illustration.

    Additionally, I think that many of the anti-globalization arguments rely on untrue assumptions e.g. that the jobs in question would not have been lost in any case or that protecting the jobs wouldn’t have had a downside of its own.

  3. John Burgess says:

    I absolutely love the good use of graphics to demonstrate data. But I think we may need to keep a few literate folks around just to make sure that the graphics aren’t just the result of cool graphic arts and artists and their tools!

    If people look no deeper than the sparkly graphics, it becomes all the easier to please them while hiding uncomfortable data.

  4. Zelsdorf Ragshaft III says:

    So long as the U.S. Constitution is the law of the land and the U.S. maintains it sovereignty, their might be some advantages to a move in the direction of globalization, but to equalize, you must remove from some to give to others, and if you try to take mine, bring a gun cause I will.

  5. Dave Schuler says:

    If people look no deeper than the sparkly graphics, it becomes all the easier to please them while hiding uncomfortable data.

    That’s one of my misgivings, too, John.

  6. floyd says:

    Interesting presentation, the article, however, is a non sequitur to the title.