Category Archives: Politics

Young Voters Inspired By Facebook – Infographic

As election day approaches, you might be getting sick of the political bickering in your News Feed. You can try to fight it, but political participation on social media is contagious.

Since 2004, politicians like Howard Dean and Ron Paul have been using social and new media to advance their causes and put themselves in front of younger voters who aren’t just tech-savvy, they’re tech-centric. Facebook and Twitter are powerful tools for spreading information and news, as Barack Obama used to his advantage in his 2008 bid for the presidency.

But Facebook can do more than just familiarize voters with a candidate or let them “Like” a campaign page. For the younger demographic of new voters, social media can be a push to the ballot.

SEE ALSO: Social Is the Secret Weapon in Local Politics

A study out of the University of California found that social messages functioned as highly effective reminders to vote. When pictures of friends appeared in the messages, potential voters were more inspired to take action. Altogether, the study directly influenced the 2010 midterm elections by inspiring more than 300,000 voters to hit the polls. In the end, all that political bickering might only increase the chances of higher voter turnout in the long run.

Check out this infographic from Online College Courses to learn more about the way social media and politics are merging in 2012.

Source: Mashable.com

Blame Obama? Judging the recovery time from the Great Recession

Judging the recovery time from the Great Recession – Capitol Report – MarketWatch.

By Russ Britt, MarketWatch

LOS ANGELES (MarketWatch) — Getting a handle on how long it’ll take to recover from the Great Recession is more art than science, but a few economists think there are lessons from the past that might prove useful for those seeking a light at the end of the tunnel.

Academics from California to Massachusetts agree this last downturn is unlike any of the nation’s 10 previous recessions, dating back to the Great Depression. The collapse of the nation’s financial system is the main culprit, though there is plenty of blame to spread around: the housing and credit bubbles, to name two other offenders.

What is unclear, however, is whether more could have been done by President Barack Obama to get the economy up to speed faster. That, of course, is the central question in this year’s election, and voters’ answer to that question will go a long way toward determining if Obama gets a second stint in the Oval Office or if Republican challenger Mitt Romney unseats him.

Is the economy really improving?

Orders for long-lasting goods posted the largest gain in more than 21/2 years in September and the number of U.S. workers filing applications for jobless benefits fell last week. Mesirow Financial Chief Economist Diane Swonk discuss the state of the U.S. economy. Photo: Getty Images.

While some economists, not all them conservatives, say more could have been done, others point out past history indicates that given the size and scope of the downturn — virtually a depression in some views — the economy’s recovery is relatively on schedule.

“We’re way below how a normal recession [would behave] . But we’re about even, maybe a little better, than what a financial recession looks like,” said Alan Taylor, an economics professor at the University of Virginia.

Fact-checking recessions

Taylor recently released an article “Fact-checking Financial Recessions,” an update of a 2011 study conducted for the National Bureau of Economic Research. He and two colleagues examined the recovery patterns of 223 recessions in 14 advanced countries over the last 142 years. The study shows that downturns precipitated by a financial system collapse last longer and are much deeper than more “normal” recessions. Read about Taylor’s paper here.

Taylor’s study, conducted with Federal Reserve researcher Oscar Jorda and Moritz Schularick, economics professor at the University of Berlin, is similar to that of a 2007 examination that also was recently updated by Harvard University economics professors Carmen Reinhart and Kenneth Rogoff. The Harvard duo later published their findings in the 2009 book “This Time is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly.”

“Rather than the V-shaped recovery that is typical of most post-war recessions, [U.S.] growth has been slow and halting,” Reinhart and Rogoff wrote in their most recent update of their research, an essay released last week. “Based on our research, this disappointing performance should not be surprising.” See the report here.

But some conservative economists take issue with the studies. They also disagree with the premise, articulated by former President Bill Clinton at the Democratic convention in September, that no president could have cured all the nation’s economic woes within four years.

“[Obama] focused exclusively on short-term band-aids,” said Lee Ohanian, a fellow at the conservative Hoover Institution at Stanford University in Palo Alto, Calif., and current economics professor at UCLA, of the various stimulus efforts by the president. “These short-term band-aids didn’t do anything to help.”

Faster bouncebacks

Michael Bordo, another Hoover fellow who teaches economics at Rutgers University, conducted his own study with Cleveland Fed Vice President Joseph Haubrich. Bordo contends there have been several recessions with a financial crisis element since World War II, and those have all bounced back faster than the current downturn. See the study here.

Bordo, along with conservative economists Kevin Hassett and Glenn Hubbard, have been feuding in op-ed pages with Reinhart and Rogoff over the pace of the recovery. Advisors to the Romney campaign, Hassett is a fellow at the conservative American Enterprise Institute and Hubbard, a visiting scholar at AEI, was chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush. Bordo isn’t affiliated with the Romney campaign but says he supports the Republican.

The three insist that correlating the U.S. economy with other nations is a mistake.

“They’re pulling data across a number of countries, all of which have different institutional environments, different policies,” Bordo said of the Harvard study as well as Taylor’s. “There’s a lot of information that’s going in there.”

Bordo, though, says this recession is different since it was compounded by the housing bubble, an element that has never played a significant nationwide role in previous downturns and could be the nagging factor in this crisis.

Asked if Clinton was right about when he insisted this downturn couldn’t have been shortened, Bordo said: “I don’t know. I really don’t know.”

Taylor and the Harvard duo say they have no political motivation when it comes to examining recession patterns, and aren’t questioning government policy. Taylor’s paper first was completed a year ago and Reinhart and Rogoff started looking at the issue in late 2007, 11 months before Obama was elected.

Key metric

Both studies use real per-capita GDP as their barometer for determining when a downturn has run its course. According to their data, the end of a downturn is complete when that gauge, which measures individual productivity, has returned to its pre-recession peak and is starting to grow again.

Taylor says that in most “normal” recessions, real per-capita GDP dips for one year, returns to its pre-recession peak within a year or two, and then starts surging past the old peak. Bureau of Economic Analysis data show this was true in all recessions dating back to World War II.

For the Great Depression, though, it took until 1939 for that gauge to get back to levels reached in 1929, prior to the stock market crash, the BEA says. Stocks generally recover at about the same pace as individual productivity, but that wasn’t true for the Depression. Back then, it took the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI:DJIA)   25 years to get back to its 1929 levels.

“There’s a reason it was called the Great Depression,” Taylor said with a chuckle. “We can have a lot of depressions but they’re not all great. It was the great one for a reason.”

Why global recession may return

The International Monetary Fund warned that the global economy risks skidding toward another recession.

With the current downturn, real per-capita GDP hit a peak in December 2007, Taylor says. BEA figures show that the metric reached $44,005 in the fourth quarter of that year and haven’t revisited that level since.

BEA data show the low point was the second quarter of 2009, when the GDP metric hit $41,389. It has been slowly climbing, for the most part, since then and now stands at $43,152, roughly 98% of where it was at the pre-recession peak. The Dow, meanwhile, stands at about 94% of its pre-recession peak.

Taylor says when it comes to real per-capita GDP, the current slow recovery fits the pattern of other similar, bank-fueled recessions in other mature economies, as well as the pre-Depression bank “panics” in the U.S.

The credit factor

Of 223 recessions Taylor looked at, 50 were initiated by a financial crisis. One key difference between Taylor’s study and that of the Harvard researchers is he examines how an excessive amount of credit issued in the years leading up to a banking downturn will factor into the equation. In the current malaise, he estimates that a medium-to-high level of excess credit circulated throughout the U.S.

Taylor says bank loans alone put the U.S. into the “medium” excess credit level, but there has been what he calls a substantial amount of what he calls “shadow credit” — student and auto loans, credit cards and securitized mortgages. He says there probably was enough of that to catapult the U.S. well into the “high” excess category.

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His data show that even after five years, individual productivity still is slightly below the pre-downturn peak in the average bank-fueled recession. BEA data show the current downturn was steeper during the first year when compared with what Taylor says is the average bank-fueled recession, but recovered faster and is slightly ahead of schedule.

“I think it’s pretty much on par, maybe a little better, if you take into account the shadow system. When you put in the extra bit of credit that was generated, the [GDP] path could have actually been lower,” he said.

In another update to the study released earlier this week, Taylor points out that the U.S. is doing much better than the U.K. While the U.S. is getting close to pre-recession GDP levels, the U.K. appears headed for another downturn in productivity, he notes.

No ax to grind

There are some economists who say they don’t have a political ax to grind and yet remain critical of Obama’s handling of the crisis, or at least don’t think the downturn needed to last as long as it has. But views differ on the best remedy.

Enrique Mendoza, economics professor at the University of Maryland, says Obama diagnosed the problem incorrectly, using Keynesian tactics of government largesse to try and boost demand. Quantitative easing should have been introduced simultaneously with the bank bailout, and a more aggressive addressing of the housing crisis should have been the order of the day, he says.

“The approach of attacking the crisis mainly with massive fiscal and monetary easing completely missed the point that the financial crisis was the culprit, not the Keynesian fairy that made private demand disappear,” he said.

Barry Eichengreen, economics professor at University of California, Berkeley, says even if this is a typical bank-fueled recession, the nation is right to demand quicker solutions because the U.S. is the world’s biggest economy and it has its own currency. But he thinks more stimulus might have been the answer.

“When debt is free and when interest rates are zero and the private sector is deleveraging, that is the right thing to do,” he said.

Source: Marketwatch

Election 2012: The Candidates’ Social Media Profiles – Infographic

Either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney is going to be elected as President of the United States of American in a couple weeks. The recent debates have been very entertaining to say the least.

With Facebook hitting one billion users and Twitter registering at about 500 million, we here at Wallaroo Media thought we’d take a dive into the presidential candidates’ social media profiles. We found some very interesting data. Do you think that the information below can be used to predict a winner in this year’s election?

Source: Wallaroomedia

Women In Engineering, Computer Science, Technology, Hall Of Fame – Infographic

Did you know that Ada Lovelace, a computer scientist from England, is considered to be the first computer programmer? With her code-like language, she created a model for Charles Babbage’s analytical engine in the mid-1800s.

Nearly two centuries later, there are some very impressive women working in technology, such as Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg. However, women still only make up just 25% of the workforce in STEM — that is, science, technology, engineering and mathematics — careers.

This infographic takes a look at some of the brilliant ladies whose contributions to the STEM fields are an inspiration to all women — and men.

SEE ALSO: STEM Careers: The Need to Get More Women Involved From the Start

Take a look at this Hall of Fame for women in tech, science, engineering and math, created by Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers; then, let us know how you think we can encourage more women and girls to enter STEM careers in the comments section.

Source: Mashable.com, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

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Who Will Social Media Users Vote For? – Infographic

You’ve probably seen the results of dozens of election polls by now, but what about research specifically concentrating on social media users? How will they be voting in the U.S. presidential election coming up on Nov. 6? To find out, market research firm Lab42 surveyed 500 U.S. social media users.

In the survey, respondents were asked who they planned to vote for, and in an interesting twist, who they’ll be voting against. The survey digs deeper, finding out if spouses agree on presidential candidates, which issues have the most impact on voters’ decisions, and who is just not going to vote at all.

The most significant findings are about the closely watched independents, those who say they aren’t affiliated with either the Republican or Democratic parties. According to the survey, the race is nowhere near over for denizens of social media, with significant percentages still undecided, especially those who aren’t registered. One statistic that made us laugh: 7% of registered independents have changed their minds four or more times.

And really, 29% of the respondents didn’t even know what “GOP” stands for…? Ouch.

By the way, if you’re having trouble making up your mind, here’s a powerful tool, I Side With, a website that gives you a detailed questionnaire and lets you discover how your political views match up with the candidates.

The survey was conducted Oct. 2-4, 2012 with 500 Facebook and Twitter users responding. A lot has happened since Oct. 4, the day after the first debate in which Obama’s performance was widely panned. However, the next two debates were seen as mostly wins for the Obama campaign, so it’s possible these results could somewhat balance out. And, according to a spokesperson from Lab42, “The majority of respondents took the survey after the first debate, and I think the only stat that may have changed is the undecided vote, which will continue to change up until the election.”

What do you think? Does this survey reflect your impression of the voting landscape in social media?

Source: Mashable.com, Lab42.com

Second Presidential Debate 2012 – Video

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Citizens Demand More Use Of Digital And Social Media By Police – Infographic

Do you Like Bones on Facebook? Do you live-tweet Dexter every week? Turns out, social media users want to be involved with the real-life fight against crime, as well.

Approximately 92% of citizens from across six countries want to support their police force, according to a June 2012 survey by Accenture.

Of the 1,300 participants, 88% percent believe they have an important role in preventing crime, but only 16% feel well-informed.

The survey, which spanned Canada, the U.S., the UK, the Netherlands, Germany and Spain, highlights the relationship between social media, police and citizenry. You’ll find its results in the infographic.

Source: Mashable.com, Accenture

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How Are Apps Shaping the 2012 Election? – Infographic

How Are Apps Shaping the 2012 Election? [INFOGRAPHIC].

Source: Mashable.com, EngineYard.com

If 2008′s presidential race was the social media election, then this year’s is certainly the mobile election.

EngineYard.com created an infographic that breaks down how the U.S. has used mobile apps, in both sending and consuming information, during the 2012 election season so far.

SEE ALSO: Presidential Debate Most-Tweeted Event in U.S. Political History

Some notable stats from the graphic: 70% of the most active iPhone states (New York, California, Illinois) tend to vote Democrat, while 70% of the most active Android states (Colorado, Arizona, Georgia) tend to vote Republican. And, of the approximately $1 billion spent on the election by both parties, around $54 million has been spent on digital advertising — including mobile.

Take a look at the graphic below:

Mitt Romney Debates Himself – Video

First Presidential Debate – Romney Wins, At First Sight

After watching the first presidential debate it must be said that Mitt Romney displayed much more confidence than current President Obama. His entire appearance was much stronger and appeared to be much more confident. Obama really looked like he is bothered by this debate and couldn’t wait until it is over. While Romney focused on the president and mostly was seeking eye contact with his opponent, Obama avoided the direct approach. The president appeared really like he had nothing to add to what is already said.

However, taking a second look and analyzing what was said, the entire outcome leaves us with a different result. Mitt Romney was able to take full advantage of Obama’s “absence”. He bluntly explained a few things of his program:

* He will cut taxes for the rich
* He will not cut social services as medicare and other health related services
* With his health program everybody will receive better services
* “Obama Care” will be kicked to the curbs
* He will fully support the military spending spree, whether that is needed or not
* He agreed that social security is an important program and will not be cut
* He claimed he will cut the deficit
* Regulations will not be touched, actually several regs will be cut

While making these statements he used two important phrases that stuck with people:

1. If you hear nonsense too many times you might just believe it

2. I don’t want to have programs that China has to finance for us

With those two phrases he got momentum for himself and his speech. It implied that his contribution is not nonsense, but Obama’s program is based on lies and they only come true by repeating them over and over again. That China is the “supreme” debt holder is as unpopular as cold feet and taking advantage of that fact was a sensational strategy for Romney. Stuff like that sits with people, especially when they are completely unchallenged by the opponent.

Looking at the above and realizing that Romney keeps failing to explain how his wonder program actually works, can be Obama’s plus, when he finally decides to ask a few questions. It is pretty clear that cutting PBS will not solve the poor state of finances in this country. All the points above promise paradise, everything will get better. Taxes go down and nothing is cut, while national debt is going down! Well, by all of Romney’s glory of last night, one doesn’t have to be an economist to understand that what he said is actually impossible. Not next to impossible, it is beyond impossible! Promising heaven on earth in a deeply miserable situation, and repeating it, might be what people want to hear, but selling out the American People for stupid will not cut it in the long run and you will be caught with your pants down.

So, fact is, all the promises will be just that, promises. It is impossible to implement all that and have the outcome Romney is trying to sell us. China has pretty much financed all the spending in two wars, all the bailouts and all the other things we needed to stay afloat over the past years. Even to pay for health care and social security was only possible with issuing debt to China and others. That Romney mentions PBS as a program that has been financed by China and has to go, is a joke. Admitted, it was a joke that worked last night in order to survive a one-on-one debate, but even with a lot of sympathy for the Republicans, you can’t be serious.

Obama’s appearance in the first debate was absolutely poor. Romney’s win isn’t based on strong contributions, but rather on a poor display of Obama. It wouldn’t have taken a lot to take Romney and his promises apart. While Romney accused Obama of “feeding” his political friends with spending in alternative energies, Obama was staying away from “dishing out compliments”, for no reason. Politics is a dirty business, there is no reason for a gentleman display, especially not in such a debate. Say it as it is and you win. If your opponent is twisting the truth, put it on the table and ask questions. And while you do so, address your opponent. Eye contact and staying away from emotional expressions is important. Don’t act like you have nothing to say. Failing to do so, will cost you your job, Mr. President.

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The Enemies Of The Internet – Infographic

If you think that identity theft is the worst-case-scenario of Internet use, you clearly don’t live in any of the nations that make the list of top “Enemies of the Internet.” Not only do these governments monitor their citizens’ web activity, but they also make it nearly impossible for them to safely share and gather information through anonymous microblogs, Facebook pages or Twitter accounts. One nation sports a cyber police force that is larger than the city of Orlando, Florida. And when protests erupted in another country, Twitter accounts were created for the sole purpose of diverting citizens from spreading information. Although these nations represent the extremes of national cybersecurity, the measures they use are based in legislative bills like SOPA, PIPA and CISPA. Check out the following infographic to find out which nations make this list. The next time you surf the web, think carefully about who’s watching you and who’s blocking you.

Source: OpenSite.org

Mashable Special Report: How Digital Is Transforming Politics

Mashable Special Report: How Digital Is Transforming Politics.

“We just made history.” That Nov. 5, 2008 tweet from the campaign of Barack Obama capped off the first presidential election of the social media age. Four years earlier, Howard Dean had begun to reveal the power of the Internet for fundraising and organizing in his losing effort, but it was the 2008 Obama campaign that really demonstrated social media’s power to be transformative of the political process. And yet, social media as we know it today was in its infancy.

 

The Twitter that Obama spoke to the day after he became President-Elect had around 5 million users — only a quarter of the total number of followers the President now has on just his own account. Facebook in 2008 was approaching 150 million users worldwide, a number that has swelled to almost a billion today.

 

Four years in Internet time is an eternity, and the landscape of social media has predictably changed in profound ways. Social may still not be a fully mature medium — none of its major players have yet hit the decade mark — but it is clearly no longer just a throw-in. A recent study from branding agency Digitas found that 88% of U.S. adults on social media are registered voters, and that over half will use social media to learn about the presidential election. It’s no wonder that in the campaign offices of Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, digital strategists have been given a seat at the big kids’ table.

 

Yet for all the talk of social media’s potential power as a political tool, for all the millions of followers and thousands of status updates, the Pew Research Center finds that the candidates aren’t actually very social. “Neither campaign made much use of the social aspect of social media,” reported Pew in August. It seems that the campaigns are using social media as just another broadcast channel — blasting out partisan messages, and only taking very few opportunities to actually engage with fans, followers and voters.

 

So if social media ends up being another one-way advertising medium, like print, radio or television, is it really a game changer? What effect is social media having on the election of 2012?

 

Politics Transformed: The High Tech Battle for Your Vote is an in-depth look at how social media and digital tech is changing the way we choose our leaders. In it, Mashable reporters uncover how the campaigns are utilizing massive stores of data gathered through social networks to better target political advertising, how crowdfunding could shake up campaign finance, and we meet the masterminds shaping the digital best practices for electoral politics. We report on how watchdog groups are using social media to protect the vote, why social media has put even more heat on candidates to stay on-message, and ask whether voting over the Internet will ever be safe.

 

In spite of its massive and unprecedented growth, we’re only just beginning to figure out what it means to be social online, and political strategists are still in the early stages of figuring out what social media can and can’t do. The trend is clear, however: digital will be an ever more important factor as each new election cycle rolls around. We can’t know yet what the future might hold for social media and politics, but here’s how social is changing things right now.

 

Politics Transformed 

Source: Mashable.com

 

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The Green Lifestyle vs. The typical Lifestyle – Infographic

OK so as our regular readers know we use the visual news area to talk about topical or reasonably topical (come on we don’t want to make it boring) issues that relate to global finance and we do it in a fun visual way. We then like to see how these issues impact everyday people and see what trends or patterns emerge and how they might impact on the average working person in the UK/US.

We have looked at a number of different topics recently and it looks like a number of different factors are causing more and more middle income family’s to get squeezed financially. Be that the hike in University fees (That College for our many US readers) or the fact families are becoming more reliant on two incomes rather than one or a whole host of other micro reasons (please see our other visual news pieces). The fact is people are struggling more and credit it getting harder to find quickly (Both in the UK and US), hens the recent boom in pawn broking shops and payday loans online.

With wind farms popping up all over the place and electric cars starting to role onto our roads we decided to take a look into what going green can really mean for your wallet. How can we make our money go further so we are not as short at the end of the month and don’t have to really on payday loans etc. If I am honest I personally thought going green would be way way more expensive as such we very nearly did not research the topic. Well it turns out that it’s not. Surprised! I know I was.

Source: Paydayloan.co.uk

Hunger Reads: Obama\’s Mind Games and How To Succeed When You\’re Running for Office: Death Race 2012: GQ on Politics: GQ

Hunger Reads: Obama’s Mind Games and How To Succeed When You’re Running for Office: Death Race 2012: GQ on Politics: GQ.

Hunger Reads: Obama’s Mind Games and How To Succeed When You’re Running for Office

So you’re stuck in line at Chipotle, bored, behind on your news-reading—yet not exactly jonesing for another rehash of the headlines. Enter the Hunger Reads, our daily compendium of the political stories we think you’ll actually enjoy reading. (At least more than reading the take-out menu over and over.)

Was this email in your inbox?Why Obama Is Obsessed With Your Name, Zeke Miller, Buzzfeed

The semi-stalkerish emails may be prompting exclamations across Twitter, but they’re part of a calculated effort to drive voter registration and turnout, rooted in a new science of politics.

Sasha Issenberg, the author of The Victory Lab: The Secret Science of Winning Campaigns explained to BuzzFeed that the campaign is trying an old trick from behavioral psychology research.

The theory: You’re more likely to take an action if you think other people like you are also doing it.

Toss Morals and Ethics AsideHow To Measure a President: Why a successful president must understand his political moment, John Dickerson, Slate

If a president misreads his moment, it can throw his presidency off course. Franklin Roosevelt’s attempt to pack the court is perhaps the most famous example of a serious political blunder. But many trip right out of the gate. Bill Clinton pushed to allow gays to serve in the military at the beginning of his first term, ending his political honeymoon about as soon as it started. In the first months of George W. Bush’s presidency, either due to a lack of attention or respect, Vermont Republican Sen. Jim Jeffords abandoned the Republican Party, handing control of the Senate to the Democrats. Obama continued to back the former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle for a Cabinet post despite the controversy over his unpaid taxes. Later Obama admitted he was blind to the conflict between his promise to run a White House with no special-interest influence and the loophole he was creating for his friend Daschle.

A president who sees the possibilities of the moment can rack up achievements that seemed foreclosed. According to Robert Caro’s account in The Path to Power, Johnson knew instinctively after John F. Kennedy’s assassination that he could use the slain president’s memory to pile up successes in Congress. Caro quotes Johnson discussing the mechanics of his strategy: “I had to take the dead man’s program and turn it into a martyr’s cause.” When Johnson addressed Congress days after Kennedy’s death, he did just that: “[No] eulogy could more eloquently honor President Kennedy’s memory than the earliest possible passage of the civil rights bill for which he fought so long.”

Voters need to appreciate these currents almost as much as presidents in order to accurately assess a president’s political performance or a challenger’s promises. How steep was the opposition that a president faced? How boxed in was his agenda by the unexpected emergencies of the day? Did these fire alarms increase his political capital or drain it? Is the challenger offering pie-in-the-sky promises? Will his proposals face public fatigue, or are people hungry for sweeping change?


Source: GQ.com

China: Stats, Facts, Economy – Infographic

The end of WWII marked the birth of China as we know it today. After the Second World War, a civil war broke out between the once-allied Chinese and Japanese. In the end, Communism prevailed and the People’s Republic of China was born in 1949. Want to learn more about China and its people? Check out these important facts and figures.

Source: Visual.ly