Dec 18th 1997
From The Economist print edition
Few Economist indicators are as often cited as our Big Mac index, which uses hamburger prices as an index of currency parity. In the same spirit, we wondered how the globe looks when viewed through the bottom of a Coca-Cola bottle. It turns out that fizzy mass-market stuff—ie capitalism—is good for you. Oddly, a list of the top 12 Coke consumers shows no discernible pattern—unless you see what Iceland has in common with Aruba. Probe a little deeper, however, and patterns emerge. For one, there is a loose but clear positive relationship between Coke consumption and wealth—perhaps not surprisingly. Even clearer is the relationship between cola and an index developed by the United Nations to show general quality of life (as measured by wealth, education, health and literacy). Coke consumption takes off at the upper end of the development scale. Finally, democracy goes better with Coke. Consumption rises with political freedom, as measured by Freedom House’s seven-point scale. Have a cola, North Korea.
thanks to gr_s