May 12, 2014

The Economist
25 St. James Street
London SW1A 1 HG

I enjoyed your jocund piece about dividing the world up by language as Putin apparently would have it.  Here is your result:
Map of world distribution of language groups

World According to Putin Economist vol. 411 no.8886 May 10 page 60
(Yes I know the satanic email system won’t give it to you.  You already have it; I put it in for my readers.)

One obvious reaction is to chuckle, “Like that would ever happen,” or “Who says England will be in charge?  We can give the queen some nifty title like QUOTUS.”  On the other hand, the map is rather pleasant to look at.  It actually makes sense.  Of course it misses Putin’s whole point, which is that people trump political convenience.  The map as you have it respects national boundaries while Putin does not.  Whatever happened to the French speaking Canadians on your map?  Still it’s an improvement over what we have now. 

I think a few weeks ago you mentioned that billionaires asking political cronies for tax money or regulatory favors call it “rent seeking.”  The rational evidently is that paying taxes and abiding by regulations together are the rent we pay our governments for the privilege of being permitted to exist.  With forty unstable nations in the world (and you kinda wonder about places where there is civil peace but enormous resources are deployed to keep it that way) it seems that we are due a serious redrawing of national boundaries so we may all flock with birds of the same feather.  It needs to be on a far finer scale than you have jokingly drawn, but you have a start.


M. Linton Herbert MD

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