Monday, 27 September 2004

Grading the World's Nations

One of the impressive documents over at, is a comprehensive listing of the states of the world with capsule summaries of their political statuses. Terminology is kept consistent for all nations, referred to as states, with political sub-regions referred to as provinces, so the description may seem quirky to American ears. The states are grouped by continent, with North America at the top, so one quickly sees . . .

UNITED STATES. The most powerful state, and the wealthiest. Has historically been progressive on civil liberties, but often selective of protected populations. Has always favored capitalism, the economic dominion of a minority. Legislative elections in 2002 handed George W. Bush and the Republicans, the more dominion-oriented of the major parties, nearly-complete control of all organs of federal government. Provincial electorates had previously given Bush a narrow victory in the presidential election, though his more-liberal opponents won a general majority, and his principal opponent, Al Gore, won a plurality. The antiquated electoral system denied the mandate for Gore at large, and possibly even in the province of Florida. Has been regressing on civil liberties since the bombings of 2001 September 11.
I'm confident that most conservative Republicans reading this would be seeing "lefty bias", but reading on would discover that left-leaning regimes are not given soft treatment.:
CUBA. Still operating under the régime of Fidel Castro Ruz, and suffering Сталинist repression; Castro is now organizing a supposedly-popular drive to forbid changing the constitution, and has been rubber-stamped for a further five years in office. He has also allowed Jimmy Carter to speak against tyranny on national television; but has followed such weak signs of liberalization with a severe crackdown on dissidents.
Zhōng Guó ― (China). The world’s most populous state, and unfortunately its most populous tyranny. Ruled by the Zhōng Guó Gòng Chăn Dăng. Jiāng Zé Mín heads the régime; while he is transitioning from public office, he will maintain control unofficially. He has enshrined his own doctrines in customary law, and stacked the ruling body with his supporters. The official leader is Hú Jĭn Tao.
Most impressive about this catalog is its comprehensiveness. The author makes heavy use of native alphabets throughout, many of which won't display properly on most system.

. . . Some states get only a cursory mention, but all are graded as either fundamentally democratic (gray) or not (red). Just how accurate all the information might be is open to question, but its quite an impressive effort at the very least. Check out what is said about some lesser known country which you know about, and let me know how on the mark or not you feel the description is.

The author expounds much more in depth on recent political changes in China in his most recent essay, which I highly recommend.

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