September 10, 2008

Story Ideas: What are the neighbors buying?

The New York Times put up a great interactive map of what other countries are buying.

Obviously the US leads in many areas, but look at the comparisons.

Brazil (Population 188 million) spends about US$5 billion on electronics. Hong Kong (population about 8 million) spends almost US$2 billion. Obviously this is an issue of how wealthy Hong Kong is compared to Brazil. But doesn't that also show the gap that developing countries have bridge to be competitive in the 21st century?

But look at alcohol and tobacco and you see Japan spends more than twice as much as China. US$77 billion to US$31 billion. Guess money and education don't always buy wisdom.

Lots of this information is available for free from US government web pages. Maybe a session for students and working journalists on how to mine the FREE US government web pages might be in order.

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