Sociology can provide us with new ways to see the world around us. Sometimes, though, a picture is worth a thousand words. Worldmapper is a website that provides many such pictures that allow us to see things in new ways. They present maps of the world in which the size of the nations varies based on how much or little of a resource they possess. For example, they provide a map of the world’s total population in which those countries with the most people are bigger and those with the fewest are smaller. This gives us a better sense of the overall distribution of the world’s population.

They provide many other maps that provide interesting insights such as: toy exports (note the size of China), toy imports (note the size of the U.S.), tourist destinations (note the size of Europe), aircraft flights, passenger cars, fruit exports, cereal imports, alcohol & cigarette imports, medicines exports (this is one of the strangest because of the massive size of Europe and the miniscule size of all other nations including the U.S.), and many others. I find the import/export contrast (as seen above with toys) particularly interesting. Another such example involves clothes: clothing exports (note the size of China) versus clothing imports (note the size of the U.S.). They also include many other maps.

What might we learn from such representations? How might they change the way we see our world?

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