Visualizing the World Economy

Van Mensvoort
August 27th 2015

Ever wondered what what the $15.3 Trillion of World trade looks like? Researchers at Harvard Kennedy School now created an interactive “Globe of Economic Complexity,” that shows the intricate ecology of supply and demand among different regions using "clouds of confetti."

The interactive graph allows you to easily visualize the complex network of world trade. You can filter on various commodities, ranging from vegetables, to machines, to oil, and easily zoom into countries to learn that Saudi Arabia and Iran mainly export oil, China exports an amazing amount of machinery and electrical products, Germany is king of cars, while countries like South Korea, The Netherlands but also India are extremely  export a varied set of products, implying they have very healthy economies. As expected North Korea is pitch dark.

North Korea export: pitch black. South Korea: extremely diversified.

North Korea export: pitch black. South Korea: extremely diversified.

South America's stars: Costa Rica exports fruit, while Trinidat and Tabago export a lot of oil.

South America's highlight: Costa Rica exports fruit, Trinidat and Tabago export oil.

Compare India's diverse upcoming economy with Saudi Arabia's dependence on oil.

Compare Saudi Arabia's dependance on oil with India's diverse upcoming economy.

The visualization makes clear that no country can export everything, and that some industries such as machinery will generate more networks around the world as opposed to something like vegetables.

The data for the project was generated with Harvard University’s Center for International Development’s (CID) 2012 world export data, which stems from the United Nations Comtrade database.

According to the creators of the Globe, it not only shows where products are made and sent to, but can also be used to suggest products a country could begin manufacturing in order to fuel economic growth.

Via Motherboard.

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