Picture Courtesy Mike Baumeister on Unsplash

Numbers Don’t Lie: How to Handle Digits in Real World

Numbers Don't Lie is a recent book by Vaclav Smil, a renowned Canadian policy maker and economist currently employed at the University of Winnipeg in Manitoba, Canada. The book comprises a wide variety of topics starting from climate change, economy, healthcare, and compare donations across the globe. The book also delves deep into the culture and its impact on the economy. He illustrated how every country looks at problems differently like the way they differ in politics. The conflict between China and the United States on the trade war and the reasons for the possible prediction for China to surpass the United States GDP have been discussed precisely.

‘Culture might have a great impact on the economy’ Vaclav says, the way South Korea has looks at the beauty industry differently than the rest of the world while the United States looks at consumerism. Alongside other topics, Vaclav addresses the population and natality issue. The recent decline in fertility rates among women has been dramatic. The fertility rates have sharply decreased from the staggering 4.55% in 1980 to 2.3% in 2020, and the worst affected being Japan. High childcare expenses, reduced family support system, increased demand for earning in metropolitan cities have made childbearing a hurdle among most families.

Vaclav says, ‘For every dollar invested in vaccination, $16 is expected to be saved in healthcare costs and the lost wages and lost productivity caused by illness and death’. Infectious disease is the reason for most unknown illnesses in recent times, and vaccination saves a lot of money in healthcare that sums up t millions of dollars each year. The hard lesson learned through COVID 19 just might be that there are many more pandemics to come and preparation and planning might avoid most challenges during these times.

Overall, the book speaks about numbers in the aspect of real life, and how to represent the meaning of each number in different contexts. Numbers are implied to represent an area of a room, energy consumed, volume filled and people died. Each type means different and the scale of representation signifies different aspects. Grasping the intricacies somehow relieves us of a. pattern that might otherwise be missed.



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Shreyoshi Chakraborti

Shreyoshi Chakraborti

I’m a PhD Student in Biochemistry and Structural Biology at Stony Brook University, Long Island, NY and a writer at heart. I hope to connect facts with stories.