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33AlyFT
In the comments below it seems that most people don’t know about the existence of Eurostat, and the NUTS2 and NUTS3 maps which they generate. They’re really great, insofar as they give you a fine-grained picture of variation within Europe. Sometimes you see how national boundaries matter a great deal…and in other ways how they don’t.

Above you see a NUTS3 map of purchasing power in relation to the European median. A few things that are salient.

1) France and the United Kingdom exhibit a great deal of wealth concentration around their capital cities.

2) The geographically fragmented and culturally diverse zone from the Low Countries down to Italy’s Po River Valley is seems to be characterized by a large number of economically vibrant cities/regions. The only common variable that I’ve ever been able to point to for this area is that they were under Habsburg hegemony for a very long time.

3) There are zones of poorer nations, such as Spain, which are wealthier than most regions of wealthier regions (e.g., Catalonia is more prosperous than the north of England or rural France across the border).

4) A few of the cities of Eastern Europe seem to be diverging from their host nations.

Below are screenshots of maps I generated from Eurostat, submitted for your comment (remember, don’t be stupid).



Screenshot 2016-05-17 22.41.22

Screenshot 2016-05-17 22.43.58

Screenshot 2016-05-17 22.45.08

Screenshot 2016-05-17 22.46.07Screenshot 2016-05-17 22.46.40Screenshot 2016-05-17 22.47.30Screenshot 2016-05-17 22.48.02Screenshot 2016-05-17 22.48.38Screenshot 2016-05-17 22.49.05Screenshot 2016-05-17 22.49.30Screenshot 2016-05-17 22.49.58Screenshot 2016-05-17 22.50.23Screenshot 2016-05-17 22.50.58

 
• Category: Economics, Foreign Policy • Tags: Geography 
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  1. Interesting maps, thanks.

    The only common variable that I’ve ever been able to point to for this area is that they were under Habsburg hegemony for a very long time.

    Well, for what I can see, it’s largely the territory of the Holy Roman Empire:

    Habsburgers ruled it for roughly 400 years overall, but that’s just half of its lifetime.

    It’s also pretty similar to what were the kingdoms of Lothair I. & Louis the German after the treaty of Verdun in 843.

    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    @bossel

    had thought of the lothair point, but that seems too short-lived. but the point about the holy roman empire is interesting...don't know what long term cultural/economic effects that would have. but who knows?

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Anonymous, @Marcus, @RK

    , @Crawfurdmuir
    @bossel


    Habsburgers ruled it for roughly 400 years overall, but that’s just half of its lifetime.
     
    The northern part of this area is roughly that of the Duchy of Burgundy, which encompassed not only the present wine-producing area of France, but also the Netherlands, Artois, and Franche-Comté. It came under Habsburg rule as a result of the marriage of Mary of Burgundy, the heiress of Charles the Bold, to the Habsburg Emperor Maximilian I in 1477. Well before the Habsburgs held it, Burgundy had enjoyed commercial wealth and cultural distinction. This was reflected in the splendor of the Burgundian court, one of the grandest in Europe. The Order of the Golden Fleece, founded at Bruges in 1430 by Duke Philip the Good to commemorate his marriage to Isabelle of Portugal, was the premier order of chivalry in Europe, and it came into the gift of the Habsburgs in consequence of Maximilian's marriage.

    While the history of Burgundy before its acquisition by the Habsburgs was one of frequent territorial disputes, it seems always to have been prosperous, probably because it was both agriculturally fertile and a natural corridor for trade.

  2. @bossel
    Interesting maps, thanks.

    The only common variable that I’ve ever been able to point to for this area is that they were under Habsburg hegemony for a very long time.
     
    Well, for what I can see, it's largely the territory of the Holy Roman Empire:
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Holy_Roman_Empire_1000_map-de.png

    Habsburgers ruled it for roughly 400 years overall, but that's just half of its lifetime.


    It's also pretty similar to what were the kingdoms of Lothair I. & Louis the German after the treaty of Verdun in 843.

    Replies: @Razib Khan, @Crawfurdmuir

    had thought of the lothair point, but that seems too short-lived. but the point about the holy roman empire is interesting…don’t know what long term cultural/economic effects that would have. but who knows?

    • Replies: @Twinkie
    @Razib Khan

    Older history and tradition of mercantile activity?

    , @Anonymous
    @Razib Khan

    The Holy Roman Empire had a tradition of much more bottom-up governance (self-governing cities like the Italian city states, German Hanse cities and Freie Reichsstadte, Dutch free cities), and linked with that a more established system of guild craftsmen/bourgeois merchants.

    I think these factors helped achieve higher industrialisation and trade interlinkage in these areas than in rural France or southern Italy, and this has compounding returns even centuries down the line - and the legacy of the apprenticeship/master craftsman system creating tinkerers and lots of SMEs persists to this day.

    , @Marcus
    @Razib Khan

    These areas were the heart of the burgher class, banking revolution, the Reformation, etc.

    , @RK
    @Razib Khan

    Razib, the Holy Roman Empire, especially in the areas around the Rhine, had a tradition of independent cities, either as "free imperial cities", which reported directly to the Emperor, or "territorial cities", which reported to an Ecclesiastical or Lay lord. Unlike the situation in much of the rest of Europe, they were self-governing to a certain degree, and coalitions of eminent citizens in independent. inorganic institutions played a large role in local public life. The other place with such a tradition was Northern Italy sine the Middle Ages; one can gain a vivid idea of how administration functioned in some of the city-states by reading the accounts of the public response to the Plague written by e.g. Petrarch and his contemporaries. It is impressive just how far a collective body of citizens was willing to regulate themselves to keep out the Black Death, and how scrupulously such self-imposed rules were followed.

    Similar traditions of local governance exist in Low countries, though this did not arise as early. I would expect such a tradition of self-governance and public life to influence the cooperative capacity of the people living there, reflected in such measures as their inclination to follow rules, public-spiritedness, initiative, and willingness to enter into cooperative ventures with their fellows, which would then determine the amount of wealth they can create.

  3. @Razib Khan
    @bossel

    had thought of the lothair point, but that seems too short-lived. but the point about the holy roman empire is interesting...don't know what long term cultural/economic effects that would have. but who knows?

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Anonymous, @Marcus, @RK

    Older history and tradition of mercantile activity?

  4. I’m fascinated by County Kerry in Ireland, which I understand historically was always one of the poorer counties, the soil being rocky and not very suitable for farming, and it was one of the counties that suffered particularly badly during the Famine. One reason I’m fascinated by it is because one of my great grandmothers came from Listowell in County Kerry, which is now famous in Ireland for being the “literary capital of Ireland.” She herself was the product of Palatine German farmers who were given land in Ireland by the British government, and who carried on their own traditions in their own enclaves or communities for a long time, but that’s by the by. But I think it is significant that when she migrated to Australia as a young woman, she married a German immigrant farmer.

    From those maps, County Kerry now seems to be doing better economically than a lot of other counties of Ireland. No thanks to my great grandmother, obviously, but I’m interested in why Kerry particularly should be doing relatively well, when everything I have read about it previously has described it as “poor”. Can Irish readers elaborate?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @John Massey

    Kerry is in large part mountainous, not great for agriculture, but works well for tourism, recently featured in the latest Star Wars installment.

    Other reasons for it's relative success might include manufacturing (e.g. Liebherr Cranes), benefiting from pork barrel politics and the proverbial low cunning of the inhabitants.

    Replies: @Sean, @John Massey

    , @Adrian Martyn
    @John Massey

    Hi John - looking again at the map, none of the Irish regions shown actually specify County Kerry - the southern bit of Ireland on the line of Latitude, folks - but they do show parts of Ireland's deep south - Munster - doing, well, not bad. So the results might not be quite so accurate either for Munster or County Kerry. This may be due to two major cities, Limerick and Cork, distorting the overall regional figures.

    That said, thanks to the Healy Rae dynasty, County Kerry does look better than its beautiful but hardy physical prospects might suggest. I would take these maps as a good rough guide for Ireland, nevertheless greater attention to detail is required. Some of the detail in other maps (i.e., France) astonish me but that does not mean they are wrong.

    Listowel may indeed be the “literary capital of Ireland.” But only for a week, and usually in the pubs!

    Replies: @John Massey

    , @Tony
    @John Massey

    I'd like to see a map of which parts of ireland have the most "black irish", and if those areas would be more prosperous or less prosperous. On a side note, word has it that the black irishmen are less horizontally challenged than irishmen in general.

    Replies: @Razib Khan, @John Massey

    , @Paul Ó Duḃṫaiġ
    @John Massey

    John,

    You might find the AIRO census mapping project at NUIM (National University of Ireland, Maynooth) interesting, here's link to the "NUTS 3" region that includes Cork and Kerry:

    http://airo.maynoothuniversity.ie/external-content/south-west-region

    If you hit "Change Data" you can get various themes (Social Class, level of education, place of birth, Irish language ability etc.)

    Obviously they also have ability to look at just Kerry:
    http://airo.maynoothuniversity.ie/external-content/kerry

    -Paul

  5. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Razib Khan
    @bossel

    had thought of the lothair point, but that seems too short-lived. but the point about the holy roman empire is interesting...don't know what long term cultural/economic effects that would have. but who knows?

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Anonymous, @Marcus, @RK

    The Holy Roman Empire had a tradition of much more bottom-up governance (self-governing cities like the Italian city states, German Hanse cities and Freie Reichsstadte, Dutch free cities), and linked with that a more established system of guild craftsmen/bourgeois merchants.

    I think these factors helped achieve higher industrialisation and trade interlinkage in these areas than in rural France or southern Italy, and this has compounding returns even centuries down the line – and the legacy of the apprenticeship/master craftsman system creating tinkerers and lots of SMEs persists to this day.

  6. Hello Razib,
    “Habsburg Rule” is not the real cause, there are big swaths
    of Habsburg rule regions lacking the the things typical
    for the Antwerpen-Florenz-Axis.
    I think it is due to three core incredients of the “Holy Roman Empire” :
    -not beeing a centralized state, all provinces etc enjoyed
    self rule exept some core things like jurisdiction and
    (partly) warfare.
    – A kind of fashion (of kings and other high nobility) beginning in the
    12th century to found cities and partly giving them the status of
    “Free Cities of the Empire”.
    – This local self rule lived on even after the Empire was no longer
    a power de facto.
    Georg

  7. @Razib Khan
    @bossel

    had thought of the lothair point, but that seems too short-lived. but the point about the holy roman empire is interesting...don't know what long term cultural/economic effects that would have. but who knows?

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Anonymous, @Marcus, @RK

    These areas were the heart of the burgher class, banking revolution, the Reformation, etc.

  8. I believe the pattern seen in the first map is known as the Blue Banana. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blue_Banana

    There are a lot of “chicken or egg” type questions that arise when looking at maps like these. Some here are arguing that the wealthy areas are where early forms of modern industry, banking, political systems, etc. formed. Well, duh, but why did they form *there*, and not elsewhere?

    It’s some combination of genetics, geography, policy, and random chance, but it’s really difficult to figure out how much weight to assign to each category.

  9. The maps appear to be based on subnational government units defined by each state- curious if likely meaningless that the German ones are all much smaller than those of other large nation-states- ie smaller than the Italian provinces, French departments, or English counties. They’re definitely smaller than the lander boundaries.

    The connection to older patterns of geographic organization struck me as it did others. The line connecting the richest districts from northern Italy through Switzerland [a unified rich zone, it appears] western Germany and the Low countries doesn’t necessarily track the boundaries of Lotharingia exactly [it looks a bit east-shifted in Germany] but the suggestion hit me right away.

    If you track major centres of commerce, culture and wealth concentration in Europe since the Middle Ages, northern Italy, southwestern and Rhenish Germany, and the south-central netherlands including Flanders/Brabant/Luxembourg will come up again, and again, and again.

    I can’t think of a great unifying factor either, except the arbitrary and ephemeral political fact of the Frankish middle kingdom(s).

    Northern Italy certainly had rich lands, some navigable water, access to ports and a history of trade both by Mediterranean and into the northern lands.

    Everything from Switzerland to Holland is united by the great Rhine river route, a wealth generator for merchants and robber barons alike for centuries, and that probably extended eastward and westward from the Rhine valley for a hundred or so miles depending on the tributaries and road/track conditions. Taking all its tributaries into consideration, the Rhine river is Europe’s Mississippi. In the age of poor roads and mainly water commerce, its environs should be Europe’s richest places.

    Granted, one might say the same of the Danube. I can only speculate that the Danubian basin was more exposed to frequent military threat and demographic churn and that was a factor inhibiting prolonged wealth buildup. [That’s my attempt to put a social scientific gloss on what might better be expressed as “Huns, Avars and Magyars, oh my!”].

    In the Rhine valley, there was a good deal of violence, but mainly on the level of lordly feuding and periodic consolidations or disassembly of groups of counties. Even the great eastward push by France did not radically affect conditions on the ground, and didn’t even begin until the end of the Middle Ages. The Rhine lands were already rich by then.

  10. Interesting that the Piedmont lands in the far NW of Italy and SE of France, Lombardy and Venetia in the NE of Italy, and some of the Florentine/Tuscan districts are all well off, as they would have been historically, but most of the former Milanese duchy in between them is not doing as well. The purple/richer bit within that last region may be the city of Milan, not sure.

    For Spain, the purple hues bring out just how much richer Catalonia, parts of Aragon, and the Basque lands are than the rest of Spain. Catalonia has probably been in that relative position for most of the past millennium. The Basque lands I am not so sure- they benefited greatly from the industrial revolution and were a centre of relative wealth in the 20th century. I don’t know if that was the case before about 1880. This was a region of mountains and fishing towns, with good commercial ties to France and England but I’m not sure how much wealth that stored up. The ports may have had a share of the wine trade, though. There was a lot of shipping trade on the Bay of Biscay for centuries.

    Interesting that in Ireland the wealth is all Dublin or the southwest. Dublin, sure. The southwest took me by surprise.

    Greece is kind of interesting- I would have assumed that Athens/Attica would be the purple bit, not green. Is there some sort of billionaires’ paradise in Boeotia?

  11. On the map for deaths from respiratory disease, I am struck by the weird patterns:

    -All of Britain and much of Ireland, not just major cities; Sure, it’s damp, and London and other cities probably have too much particulate matter from diesel exhaust and similar things [20 years ago I was taken aback when I caught cold after only a month in London, in the autumn, and coughed out my first black mucus. Eww.] But still, I would have though the end of mass coal burning 2 generations and more ago would have brought major improvements. Perhaps it did, just not relative ones. of course.

    Scandinavia’s large isolated pockets of above average problems leapt out.

    And what links those northern places to most of Iberia [and not necessarily the most industrialized parts of it] or to Tuscany? Unless all the respiratory deaths recorded in Portugal, Spain and Tuscany are vacationing Brits. That would bring up the numbers.

    • Replies: @Expletive Deleted
    @random observer

    Loads of oldsters smoked like chimneys, and many still do. The hospitals and "homes" are full of these poor sods, kicking off from emphesyma, cancer, bronchitis, whatever.
    A lot of older brits (and the modern pauper-class) grew up in cold slummy damp rented rooms infested with black moulds (grows like anything on wallpaper paste, for instance).

  12. @John Massey
    I'm fascinated by County Kerry in Ireland, which I understand historically was always one of the poorer counties, the soil being rocky and not very suitable for farming, and it was one of the counties that suffered particularly badly during the Famine. One reason I'm fascinated by it is because one of my great grandmothers came from Listowell in County Kerry, which is now famous in Ireland for being the "literary capital of Ireland." She herself was the product of Palatine German farmers who were given land in Ireland by the British government, and who carried on their own traditions in their own enclaves or communities for a long time, but that's by the by. But I think it is significant that when she migrated to Australia as a young woman, she married a German immigrant farmer.

    From those maps, County Kerry now seems to be doing better economically than a lot of other counties of Ireland. No thanks to my great grandmother, obviously, but I'm interested in why Kerry particularly should be doing relatively well, when everything I have read about it previously has described it as "poor". Can Irish readers elaborate?

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Adrian Martyn, @Tony, @Paul Ó Duḃṫaiġ

    Kerry is in large part mountainous, not great for agriculture, but works well for tourism, recently featured in the latest Star Wars installment.

    Other reasons for it’s relative success might include manufacturing (e.g. Liebherr Cranes), benefiting from pork barrel politics and the proverbial low cunning of the inhabitants.

    • Replies: @Sean
    @Anonymous

    The wealth of rural Ireland comes from EU farming subsidies, which you can get a lot of for poor land without actually producing any food.

    , @John Massey
    @Anonymous

    The low cunning certainly sounds familiar.

    Working in construction, I'm of course familiar with Liebherr Cranes, but would never have guessed they were manufactured in Kerry.

  13. @John Massey
    I'm fascinated by County Kerry in Ireland, which I understand historically was always one of the poorer counties, the soil being rocky and not very suitable for farming, and it was one of the counties that suffered particularly badly during the Famine. One reason I'm fascinated by it is because one of my great grandmothers came from Listowell in County Kerry, which is now famous in Ireland for being the "literary capital of Ireland." She herself was the product of Palatine German farmers who were given land in Ireland by the British government, and who carried on their own traditions in their own enclaves or communities for a long time, but that's by the by. But I think it is significant that when she migrated to Australia as a young woman, she married a German immigrant farmer.

    From those maps, County Kerry now seems to be doing better economically than a lot of other counties of Ireland. No thanks to my great grandmother, obviously, but I'm interested in why Kerry particularly should be doing relatively well, when everything I have read about it previously has described it as "poor". Can Irish readers elaborate?

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Adrian Martyn, @Tony, @Paul Ó Duḃṫaiġ

    Hi John – looking again at the map, none of the Irish regions shown actually specify County Kerry – the southern bit of Ireland on the line of Latitude, folks – but they do show parts of Ireland’s deep south – Munster – doing, well, not bad. So the results might not be quite so accurate either for Munster or County Kerry. This may be due to two major cities, Limerick and Cork, distorting the overall regional figures.

    That said, thanks to the Healy Rae dynasty, County Kerry does look better than its beautiful but hardy physical prospects might suggest. I would take these maps as a good rough guide for Ireland, nevertheless greater attention to detail is required. Some of the detail in other maps (i.e., France) astonish me but that does not mean they are wrong.

    Listowel may indeed be the “literary capital of Ireland.” But only for a week, and usually in the pubs!

    • Replies: @John Massey
    @Adrian Martyn

    Yeah, it's not by county, and it seems that Kerry has indeed benefitted from its proximity to Limerick and Cork (there's something about the Kerry Co-Op and dairy food production and export, but which seems to have incorporated dairies from the adjacent counties, and which has expanded into the Kerry Group, HQd in Tralee, which seems to be doing fine, no doubt aided by the afore-mentioned pork barrel funding and the political acumen of the Healy Raes.)

    When one of my great uncles (one of the sons of the great grandmother I mentioned) went for a trip back to Listowel after he retired to seek out family connections (the only member of the family ever to do so) he was gob-smacked that people in the street recognised him just by family resemblance, which seems to me to be astonishing. But then, I've never been there. Maybe I should go.

  14. @Anonymous
    @John Massey

    Kerry is in large part mountainous, not great for agriculture, but works well for tourism, recently featured in the latest Star Wars installment.

    Other reasons for it's relative success might include manufacturing (e.g. Liebherr Cranes), benefiting from pork barrel politics and the proverbial low cunning of the inhabitants.

    Replies: @Sean, @John Massey

    The wealth of rural Ireland comes from EU farming subsidies, which you can get a lot of for poor land without actually producing any food.

  15. Even before the original Roman Empire, haven’t there always been significant trade routes between the low country region to the Mediterranean, either along the Rhone River Valley or through the Alp passes to the Po River valley?

    Perhaps its simply geography. Europe is a peninsula, and there necessarily would be advantageous trade routes from one side to the other, with various tradeoffs for any route, but the one that emerged continuously in one form or another connected the North Sea and the Adriatic Sea. Common governance could help, but it didn’t always exist, and what was important would be that one doesn’t get killed en route and the taxes and other levies aren’t too high.

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    @PD Shaw

    Contacts along the Rhone and then into other river valleys go back at least as far as the Iron Age, with trade between Massalia (Marseilles) and Hallstatt culture chiefdoms, including the earliest town north of the Alps, at The Heuneburg in southernmost Germany.

    Contacts across the Alps to the Po valley are known from the same period, and usually termed 'the Amber Route', ending at the Baltic.

  16. @random observer
    On the map for deaths from respiratory disease, I am struck by the weird patterns:

    -All of Britain and much of Ireland, not just major cities; Sure, it's damp, and London and other cities probably have too much particulate matter from diesel exhaust and similar things [20 years ago I was taken aback when I caught cold after only a month in London, in the autumn, and coughed out my first black mucus. Eww.] But still, I would have though the end of mass coal burning 2 generations and more ago would have brought major improvements. Perhaps it did, just not relative ones. of course.

    Scandinavia's large isolated pockets of above average problems leapt out.

    And what links those northern places to most of Iberia [and not necessarily the most industrialized parts of it] or to Tuscany? Unless all the respiratory deaths recorded in Portugal, Spain and Tuscany are vacationing Brits. That would bring up the numbers.

    Replies: @Expletive Deleted

    Loads of oldsters smoked like chimneys, and many still do. The hospitals and “homes” are full of these poor sods, kicking off from emphesyma, cancer, bronchitis, whatever.
    A lot of older brits (and the modern pauper-class) grew up in cold slummy damp rented rooms infested with black moulds (grows like anything on wallpaper paste, for instance).

  17. Fascinating maps!

    This pattern inspires me about human genetic introgression and admixture. Fisher evolution theory makes more sense than Darwin’s model.

  18. Even the reduced scale fails to capture the whole picture. The counties around London are all prosperous. Kent would be coloured blue if it did not contain Folkstone and the Medway towns, and Hampshire would be blue but for the rough-as-guts city of Portsmouth. Wealthy Oxfordshire contains Blackbird Leys and Hertfordshire contains Luton. I would count those two places, together with Hull, as the worst places in the whole of the UK. They come rock bottom in most indices of life satisfaction.

    I have seen UK statistics that are published on a much finer scale than this and they are more revealing.

    This map by a credit rating agency is a better indicator of what life in England is really like.

    http://www.theguardian.com/news/datablog/interactive/2012/mar/06/poverty-map-england-experian

    Also, North Yorkshire, Norfolk and Suffolk are all nice places to live where the inhabitants express overall satisfaction with their lives. Norwich is a pleasant city.

    They are light brown, while the Black Country (a true hellhole) is blue. I suppose GNP per capita isn’t everything.

  19. This map captures northern England perfectly with the necessary level of detail. I would add that Cornwall is nominally poor, but it does not the sense of hopelessness and dejection that you can find in Hull or Oldham.

  20. Sean says:

    http://www.dw.com/en/ifo-economist-warns-of-conflict-between-refugees-and-poorer-germans/a-18956411

    In the “Tagesspiegel” interview, Hans-Werner Sinn rejected proposals to forgo the minimum wage in order to make it easier for refugees to find a job. It would have a negative impact on the local workforce if refugees accepted salaries that undercut the minimum wage, he stressed.

    The Germans are not so rich as one might think

    http://www.irishtimes.com/business/personal-finance/how-rich-are-the-irish-1.2649475 In Ireland, the median is around the €56,450 mark, according to the Credit Suisse figures. That may be a truer reflection of typical household wealth around the State. This puts us in fifth position of the 13 countries surveyed, again ahead of Germany and, more notably, of the US.

    There are a surprising number of people in Germany who are poor by west European standards.

  21. @Anonymous
    @John Massey

    Kerry is in large part mountainous, not great for agriculture, but works well for tourism, recently featured in the latest Star Wars installment.

    Other reasons for it's relative success might include manufacturing (e.g. Liebherr Cranes), benefiting from pork barrel politics and the proverbial low cunning of the inhabitants.

    Replies: @Sean, @John Massey

    The low cunning certainly sounds familiar.

    Working in construction, I’m of course familiar with Liebherr Cranes, but would never have guessed they were manufactured in Kerry.

  22. @Adrian Martyn
    @John Massey

    Hi John - looking again at the map, none of the Irish regions shown actually specify County Kerry - the southern bit of Ireland on the line of Latitude, folks - but they do show parts of Ireland's deep south - Munster - doing, well, not bad. So the results might not be quite so accurate either for Munster or County Kerry. This may be due to two major cities, Limerick and Cork, distorting the overall regional figures.

    That said, thanks to the Healy Rae dynasty, County Kerry does look better than its beautiful but hardy physical prospects might suggest. I would take these maps as a good rough guide for Ireland, nevertheless greater attention to detail is required. Some of the detail in other maps (i.e., France) astonish me but that does not mean they are wrong.

    Listowel may indeed be the “literary capital of Ireland.” But only for a week, and usually in the pubs!

    Replies: @John Massey

    Yeah, it’s not by county, and it seems that Kerry has indeed benefitted from its proximity to Limerick and Cork (there’s something about the Kerry Co-Op and dairy food production and export, but which seems to have incorporated dairies from the adjacent counties, and which has expanded into the Kerry Group, HQd in Tralee, which seems to be doing fine, no doubt aided by the afore-mentioned pork barrel funding and the political acumen of the Healy Raes.)

    When one of my great uncles (one of the sons of the great grandmother I mentioned) went for a trip back to Listowel after he retired to seek out family connections (the only member of the family ever to do so) he was gob-smacked that people in the street recognised him just by family resemblance, which seems to me to be astonishing. But then, I’ve never been there. Maybe I should go.

  23. 2) The geographically fragmented and culturally diverse zone from the Low Countries down to Italy’s Po River Valley is seems to be characterized by a large number of economically vibrant cities/regions. The only common variable that I’ve ever been able to point to for this area is that they were under Habsburg hegemony for a very long time.

    Hegemony, but not direct rule. These Imperial free cities, self-governed by their merchant class, were the seedbeds both of early capitalism and of the European Renaissance. The former yielded the wealth that supported the artistic, literary, musical, and architectural achievements of the latter. Hugh Trevor-Roper makes this point in his book The Crisis of the Seventeenth Century. The territorial nobles whose territories lay outside the cities coveted their wealth and this led to much of the political conflict that followed during the Reformation and Counterreformation.

  24. Kerry is one of the poorer counties in Ireland. Te reason it looks wealthy is that it is in a region with Cork city. Gdp is concentrated in the cities. There’s no way rural counties in the west are wealthier than Leinster. It as though West Virginia were in a region with Washington dc.

    • Replies: @22pp22
    @Irishman

    In England, it the other way round. Exurbia (what passes for the countryside) is vastly wealthier than the urban hellholes it surrounds.

    , @John Massey
    @Irishman

    Got it. Thanks.

  25. @Irishman
    Kerry is one of the poorer counties in Ireland. Te reason it looks wealthy is that it is in a region with Cork city. Gdp is concentrated in the cities. There's no way rural counties in the west are wealthier than Leinster. It as though West Virginia were in a region with Washington dc.

    Replies: @22pp22, @John Massey

    In England, it the other way round. Exurbia (what passes for the countryside) is vastly wealthier than the urban hellholes it surrounds.

  26. @Irishman
    Kerry is one of the poorer counties in Ireland. Te reason it looks wealthy is that it is in a region with Cork city. Gdp is concentrated in the cities. There's no way rural counties in the west are wealthier than Leinster. It as though West Virginia were in a region with Washington dc.

    Replies: @22pp22, @John Massey

    Got it. Thanks.

  27. The only common variable that I’ve ever been able to point to for this area is that they were under Habsburg hegemony for a very long time.

    Rhine, Rhone, Po overlapping somewhat.

    Ebro, Thames and Seine separate.

    river trade routes -> merchants -> competition -> higher average IQ.

    I think you can just see a similar pattern in China with their province/IQ maps.

  28. Does the second map looks so different from akarlin’s incredible


    due to the difference in meaning between “lone-parent” and “out of wedlock”?
    (I still don’t get why such a huge difference between east and west Germany in the latter map)

  29. @bossel
    Interesting maps, thanks.

    The only common variable that I’ve ever been able to point to for this area is that they were under Habsburg hegemony for a very long time.
     
    Well, for what I can see, it's largely the territory of the Holy Roman Empire:
    https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Datei:Holy_Roman_Empire_1000_map-de.png

    Habsburgers ruled it for roughly 400 years overall, but that's just half of its lifetime.


    It's also pretty similar to what were the kingdoms of Lothair I. & Louis the German after the treaty of Verdun in 843.

    Replies: @Razib Khan, @Crawfurdmuir

    Habsburgers ruled it for roughly 400 years overall, but that’s just half of its lifetime.

    The northern part of this area is roughly that of the Duchy of Burgundy, which encompassed not only the present wine-producing area of France, but also the Netherlands, Artois, and Franche-Comté. It came under Habsburg rule as a result of the marriage of Mary of Burgundy, the heiress of Charles the Bold, to the Habsburg Emperor Maximilian I in 1477. Well before the Habsburgs held it, Burgundy had enjoyed commercial wealth and cultural distinction. This was reflected in the splendor of the Burgundian court, one of the grandest in Europe. The Order of the Golden Fleece, founded at Bruges in 1430 by Duke Philip the Good to commemorate his marriage to Isabelle of Portugal, was the premier order of chivalry in Europe, and it came into the gift of the Habsburgs in consequence of Maximilian’s marriage.

    While the history of Burgundy before its acquisition by the Habsburgs was one of frequent territorial disputes, it seems always to have been prosperous, probably because it was both agriculturally fertile and a natural corridor for trade.

  30. RK says:
    @Razib Khan
    @bossel

    had thought of the lothair point, but that seems too short-lived. but the point about the holy roman empire is interesting...don't know what long term cultural/economic effects that would have. but who knows?

    Replies: @Twinkie, @Anonymous, @Marcus, @RK

    Razib, the Holy Roman Empire, especially in the areas around the Rhine, had a tradition of independent cities, either as “free imperial cities”, which reported directly to the Emperor, or “territorial cities”, which reported to an Ecclesiastical or Lay lord. Unlike the situation in much of the rest of Europe, they were self-governing to a certain degree, and coalitions of eminent citizens in independent. inorganic institutions played a large role in local public life. The other place with such a tradition was Northern Italy sine the Middle Ages; one can gain a vivid idea of how administration functioned in some of the city-states by reading the accounts of the public response to the Plague written by e.g. Petrarch and his contemporaries. It is impressive just how far a collective body of citizens was willing to regulate themselves to keep out the Black Death, and how scrupulously such self-imposed rules were followed.

    Similar traditions of local governance exist in Low countries, though this did not arise as early. I would expect such a tradition of self-governance and public life to influence the cooperative capacity of the people living there, reflected in such measures as their inclination to follow rules, public-spiritedness, initiative, and willingness to enter into cooperative ventures with their fellows, which would then determine the amount of wealth they can create.

  31. @John Massey
    I'm fascinated by County Kerry in Ireland, which I understand historically was always one of the poorer counties, the soil being rocky and not very suitable for farming, and it was one of the counties that suffered particularly badly during the Famine. One reason I'm fascinated by it is because one of my great grandmothers came from Listowell in County Kerry, which is now famous in Ireland for being the "literary capital of Ireland." She herself was the product of Palatine German farmers who were given land in Ireland by the British government, and who carried on their own traditions in their own enclaves or communities for a long time, but that's by the by. But I think it is significant that when she migrated to Australia as a young woman, she married a German immigrant farmer.

    From those maps, County Kerry now seems to be doing better economically than a lot of other counties of Ireland. No thanks to my great grandmother, obviously, but I'm interested in why Kerry particularly should be doing relatively well, when everything I have read about it previously has described it as "poor". Can Irish readers elaborate?

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Adrian Martyn, @Tony, @Paul Ó Duḃṫaiġ

    I’d like to see a map of which parts of ireland have the most “black irish”, and if those areas would be more prosperous or less prosperous. On a side note, word has it that the black irishmen are less horizontally challenged than irishmen in general.

    • Replies: @Razib Khan
    @Tony

    my irish coworker says that in ireland they don't care/know what "black irish" are. seems like an american fixation.

    Replies: @John Massey, @Carl, @Paul Ó Duḃṫaiġ

    , @John Massey
    @Tony

    I think in some respects the Irish have a reputation they don't deserve. I have worked with a fair number of Irish engineers and geologists, and they have all been smart, capable and industrious. There was one who drank beer for breakfast, but he was unusual. No less smart, though.

    Replies: @Carl

  32. @Tony
    @John Massey

    I'd like to see a map of which parts of ireland have the most "black irish", and if those areas would be more prosperous or less prosperous. On a side note, word has it that the black irishmen are less horizontally challenged than irishmen in general.

    Replies: @Razib Khan, @John Massey

    my irish coworker says that in ireland they don’t care/know what “black irish” are. seems like an american fixation.

    • Replies: @John Massey
    @Razib Khan

    Not sure - my great grandmother and other people of her generation in Australia used to talk about 'black Irish'. I think it's more a now-forgotten or ignored historical thing in Ireland than being solely American. But no one ever seemed to know the origin, and I don't think there's any hope of mapping something that modern Irish people I have talked to have dismissed as mythical or non-existent.

    Unashamedly plucked from Wikipedia: 'Kerry (Irish: Ciarraí or more anciently Ciarraighe) means the "people of Ciar" which was the name of the pre-Gaelic tribe who lived in part of the present county.' 'In Old Irish "Ciar" meant black or dark brown, and the word continues in use in modern Irish as an adjective describing a dark complexion.' *shrug*

    , @Carl
    @Razib Khan

    Irishman here, can confirm!

    , @Paul Ó Duḃṫaiġ
    @Razib Khan

    Definitely an American fixation, in Ireland "Black-Irish" (if it's ever used) means someone with recent African ancestry (either partial or full), the late great Phil Lynott been a prime example.

  33. @Razib Khan
    @Tony

    my irish coworker says that in ireland they don't care/know what "black irish" are. seems like an american fixation.

    Replies: @John Massey, @Carl, @Paul Ó Duḃṫaiġ

    Not sure – my great grandmother and other people of her generation in Australia used to talk about ‘black Irish’. I think it’s more a now-forgotten or ignored historical thing in Ireland than being solely American. But no one ever seemed to know the origin, and I don’t think there’s any hope of mapping something that modern Irish people I have talked to have dismissed as mythical or non-existent.

    Unashamedly plucked from Wikipedia: ‘Kerry (Irish: Ciarraí or more anciently Ciarraighe) means the “people of Ciar” which was the name of the pre-Gaelic tribe who lived in part of the present county.’ ‘In Old Irish “Ciar” meant black or dark brown, and the word continues in use in modern Irish as an adjective describing a dark complexion.’ *shrug*

  34. @Tony
    @John Massey

    I'd like to see a map of which parts of ireland have the most "black irish", and if those areas would be more prosperous or less prosperous. On a side note, word has it that the black irishmen are less horizontally challenged than irishmen in general.

    Replies: @Razib Khan, @John Massey

    I think in some respects the Irish have a reputation they don’t deserve. I have worked with a fair number of Irish engineers and geologists, and they have all been smart, capable and industrious. There was one who drank beer for breakfast, but he was unusual. No less smart, though.

    • Replies: @Carl
    @John Massey

    I once asked Richard Lynn to explain why thick Paddy enjoyed higher GDP per capita, lower homicide, lower illegitimacy , higher educational attainment etc etc than other European countries with higher average IQ, according to his data. He replied with something vague and, to be honest, feeble regarding the financial crisis hitting Ireland harder. His journalistic omniscience can explain anything, really. I didn't pursue it any further in case it seemed like special pleading. Ha.

    Replies: @Sean

  35. @Razib Khan
    @Tony

    my irish coworker says that in ireland they don't care/know what "black irish" are. seems like an american fixation.

    Replies: @John Massey, @Carl, @Paul Ó Duḃṫaiġ

    Irishman here, can confirm!

  36. Carl says:
    @John Massey
    @Tony

    I think in some respects the Irish have a reputation they don't deserve. I have worked with a fair number of Irish engineers and geologists, and they have all been smart, capable and industrious. There was one who drank beer for breakfast, but he was unusual. No less smart, though.

    Replies: @Carl

    I once asked Richard Lynn to explain why thick Paddy enjoyed higher GDP per capita, lower homicide, lower illegitimacy , higher educational attainment etc etc than other European countries with higher average IQ, according to his data. He replied with something vague and, to be honest, feeble regarding the financial crisis hitting Ireland harder. His journalistic omniscience can explain anything, really. I didn’t pursue it any further in case it seemed like special pleading. Ha.

    • Replies: @Sean
    @Carl

    Richard Lynn's book about anxiety which looked at various indexes such as calorie intake, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, murder, suicide, and economic development came to the conclusion that Ireland was a low anxiety country. I do not think there is a great deal of evidence against Lynn in the amount of productive capacity in Ireland, which benefits disproportionately from EU farming subsidies. Ireland's wealth seems to largely stem from a pumped up property market, very different to a comparable country such as Austria.

  37. Sean says:
    @Carl
    @John Massey

    I once asked Richard Lynn to explain why thick Paddy enjoyed higher GDP per capita, lower homicide, lower illegitimacy , higher educational attainment etc etc than other European countries with higher average IQ, according to his data. He replied with something vague and, to be honest, feeble regarding the financial crisis hitting Ireland harder. His journalistic omniscience can explain anything, really. I didn't pursue it any further in case it seemed like special pleading. Ha.

    Replies: @Sean

    Richard Lynn’s book about anxiety which looked at various indexes such as calorie intake, cigarette smoking, alcohol consumption, murder, suicide, and economic development came to the conclusion that Ireland was a low anxiety country. I do not think there is a great deal of evidence against Lynn in the amount of productive capacity in Ireland, which benefits disproportionately from EU farming subsidies. Ireland’s wealth seems to largely stem from a pumped up property market, very different to a comparable country such as Austria.

  38. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @PD Shaw
    Even before the original Roman Empire, haven't there always been significant trade routes between the low country region to the Mediterranean, either along the Rhone River Valley or through the Alp passes to the Po River valley?

    Perhaps its simply geography. Europe is a peninsula, and there necessarily would be advantageous trade routes from one side to the other, with various tradeoffs for any route, but the one that emerged continuously in one form or another connected the North Sea and the Adriatic Sea. Common governance could help, but it didn't always exist, and what was important would be that one doesn't get killed en route and the taxes and other levies aren't too high.

    Replies: @Anonymous

    Contacts along the Rhone and then into other river valleys go back at least as far as the Iron Age, with trade between Massalia (Marseilles) and Hallstatt culture chiefdoms, including the earliest town north of the Alps, at The Heuneburg in southernmost Germany.

    Contacts across the Alps to the Po valley are known from the same period, and usually termed ‘the Amber Route’, ending at the Baltic.

  39. @John Massey
    I'm fascinated by County Kerry in Ireland, which I understand historically was always one of the poorer counties, the soil being rocky and not very suitable for farming, and it was one of the counties that suffered particularly badly during the Famine. One reason I'm fascinated by it is because one of my great grandmothers came from Listowell in County Kerry, which is now famous in Ireland for being the "literary capital of Ireland." She herself was the product of Palatine German farmers who were given land in Ireland by the British government, and who carried on their own traditions in their own enclaves or communities for a long time, but that's by the by. But I think it is significant that when she migrated to Australia as a young woman, she married a German immigrant farmer.

    From those maps, County Kerry now seems to be doing better economically than a lot of other counties of Ireland. No thanks to my great grandmother, obviously, but I'm interested in why Kerry particularly should be doing relatively well, when everything I have read about it previously has described it as "poor". Can Irish readers elaborate?

    Replies: @Anonymous, @Adrian Martyn, @Tony, @Paul Ó Duḃṫaiġ

    John,

    You might find the AIRO census mapping project at NUIM (National University of Ireland, Maynooth) interesting, here’s link to the “NUTS 3” region that includes Cork and Kerry:

    http://airo.maynoothuniversity.ie/external-content/south-west-region

    If you hit “Change Data” you can get various themes (Social Class, level of education, place of birth, Irish language ability etc.)

    Obviously they also have ability to look at just Kerry:
    http://airo.maynoothuniversity.ie/external-content/kerry

    -Paul

  40. @Razib Khan
    @Tony

    my irish coworker says that in ireland they don't care/know what "black irish" are. seems like an american fixation.

    Replies: @John Massey, @Carl, @Paul Ó Duḃṫaiġ

    Definitely an American fixation, in Ireland “Black-Irish” (if it’s ever used) means someone with recent African ancestry (either partial or full), the late great Phil Lynott been a prime example.

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