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FW: [ANTHRO-L] Book Review - 100 Ways of Seeing an Unequal World

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  • Popplestone, Ann
    ... From: Danny Yee [mailto:danny@ANATOMY.USYD.EDU.AU] Sent: Monday, January 27, 2003 6:03 PM To: ANTHRO-L@LISTSERV.BUFFALO.EDU Subject: [ANTHRO-L] Book Review
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      -----Original Message-----
      From: Danny Yee [mailto:danny@...]
      Sent: Monday, January 27, 2003 6:03 PM
      To: ANTHRO-L@...
      Subject: [ANTHRO-L] Book Review - 100 Ways of Seeing an Unequal World

      100 Ways of Seeing an Unequal World
      Bob Sutcliffe
      Zed Books 2001
      287 pages, references

      A book review by Danny Yee

      _100 Ways of Seeing an Unequal World_ actually offers 123 perspectives on
      world inequality, each consisting of a two-page presentation with a graph
      or graphs on the left and explanation and interpretation on the right.
      The topics covered range across production, income and trade, demographics
      and health, agriculture, environment, refugees and repression. Sutcliffe
      pays special attention to regional (rather than just international) and
      gender inequalities, and attempts to set comparisons in a historical
      perspective. Some of the graphs take traditional forms, such as
      maps with different shadings, while others use less familiar formats,
      for example radial graphs allowing presentation of different figures.
      They are mostly clear and effective, though the restriction to black
      and white is limiting.

      He makes no attempt to present any general argument about inequality,
      but Sutcliffe has, as he himself puts it, "an implicit but obvious
      egalitarian standpoint". This rarely colours his analysis -- one
      colourful exception is a presentation of data on the "hyper-rich"
      from Merrill Lynch in which he describes "High Net Worth Individuals"
      as "a euphemism no doubt designed to expunge the memory of adjectives
      traditionally associated with the rich such as 'filthy' and 'stinking'".
      Figures are taken from "the most reliable possible sources", of which the
      most frequently cited are organisations such as the World Bank, OECD, IMF,
      UN, WHO, UNDP, and FAO. Sutcliffe sometimes comments on the context and
      biases of statistics -- for example the IMF's recent fondness for the
      Human Development Index, use of which emphasizes convergence between
      countries, and the UNDP's preference for exchange rate comparison of
      incomes, which emphasizes inequality.

      Each double-page spread is independent, which makes for easy browsing.
      There's not much room for elaboration in a page, and the interpretations
      and explanations are often frustratingly slender. Sources for the
      data are given, but there are no "further reading" suggestions --
      recommendations of one or two articles or books with each graph would
      have been nice. There's also some annoyingly sloppy editing. But the
      approach is effective in conveying information, or perhaps new ways
      of looking at familiar facts. _100 Ways of Seeing an Unequal World_
      should be in every school library and may also be useful for university
      students studying development.


      %T 100 Ways of Seeing an Unequal World
      %A Sutcliffe, Bob
      %I Zed Books
      %C London
      %D 2001
      %O paperback
      %G ISBN 1-85649-814-X
      %P 287pp
      %K economics, social justice, geography
      %Z graphical presentations of different forms of inequality

      9 January 2003

      Copyright (c) 2003 Danny Yee http://danny.oz.au/
      Danny Yee's Book Reviews http://dannyreviews.com/

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