FW: [ANTHRO-L] Book Review - 100 Ways of Seeing an Unequal World
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From: Danny Yee [mailto:danny@...]
Sent: Monday, January 27, 2003 6:03 PM
Subject: [ANTHRO-L] Book Review - 100 Ways of Seeing an Unequal World
100 Ways of Seeing an Unequal World
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
%G ISBN 1-85649-814-X
%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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