Re: second-biggest superpower

Robert S. Thau (
Tue, 1 Sep 1998 10:04:40 -0400 (EDT)

Ron Resnick writes:
> Now, if it's population, China ranks #1, India would rank #2 but
> really can't be called a global superpower, leaving the US as #2,
> hence my comments above.
> Either way, China is either #1 (pop) or #3 (nukes), but not #2.
> Unless "superpower size" is some averaged function
> size = c1*pop + c2*nukes where c1 &c2 are weighted such that China
> comes in at #2. Bleah - more lying with statistics :-).

Note how this analysis conveniently ignores the conventional military
and global economic influence, which are the real reasons why I'd put
China at #2 right now, and why Russia has fallen off the map. (And
regarding economic influence, which is the more important of the two
in the world as it stands, I'm less concerned with present GDP than
with the way massive multinationals such as Boeing and Microsoft are
cozying up to the regime there in consideration of potential future

Superpower status is about *power*, not about bean counting, no
matter what the nature of the beans.

> Chalk one down for AI Lab! (For shame rst :)

So, the media lab guy takes a subject of ultimately minor importance
(numerical rankings among superpowers), does a simplistic analysis
puffed up with insignificant details, and dramatically overstates the
significance of his result. I'd say this typifies the rivalry ;-).