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VIDEO: A history of wealth and lifespan visualized

Special thanks to LA comedian and Office star Rainn Wilson for pointing us to this amazing video explainer from the BBC via his hilarious Twitter feed. He notes: "200 years of history in 4 minutes. brilliant."

The video features an artful explainer by Hans Rosling set to an animated visualization plotting life expectancy against income for every country since 1810. Pretty amazing to see how historic events can alter these two stats According to the BBC:

Hans Rosling's famous lectures combine enormous quantities of public data with a sport's commentator's style to reveal the story of the world's past, present and future development. Now he explores stats in a way he has never done before - using augmented reality animation. In this spectacular section of 'The Joy of Stats' he tells the story of the world in 200 countries over 200 years using 120,000 numbers - in just four minutes. Plotting life expectancy against income for every country since 1810, Hans shows how the world we live in is radically different from the world most of us imagine.

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Matt Berger is the former Digital Director at Marketplace.
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There is undeniable progress within the averages of lifespan within all the countries shown, but I wonder if that is more a consequence of access to technology, such as medicine and computers, than actual "catching up" of countries. The more fascinating part of the presentation is that within one bubble, China, there are enormous disparities, and this is a direct correlation to wealth: Shanghia is rich, Guizhou is poor.

Perhaps this graphic is a more a demonstration of the marginalization of nation states, and the rise of corporate power within all these countries. Because the graphic is an average, the richest of the rich may offset the regressions of the poorest of the poor. 2009 was a great year for being rich anywhere on the planet. In fact, thanks to technology, if you're rich, it doesn't even matter where you live, because you have access to the resources of all other countries to maximize your gains.

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