Here’s a Good Example of How Charts Can Improve Your Life

The LA Times reports today that Chinese investment in the US “plunged” last year. “The pullback, which reversed nearly a decade of sharp growth, was underway even before President Trump threatened a barrage of tariffs on Chinese goods amid rising economic tensions between the two nations.”

I was musing about whether I should care about this when I flipped the page and found a chart showing Chinese investment over the past decade:

That puts a different spin on things, doesn’t it? What it really looks like is that Chinese investment in the US is on a fairly steady upward path, with a sudden huge spike in 2016 that China’s State Council decided to rein in. So now my mind is made up: I don’t really care about this.¹

¹With the caveat that if something terrible happens next year as a result of declining Chinese overseas investment, I will naturally claim to have known from the start that this was a big problem the Trump administration ignored for far too long.

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If you’re reading this, a fundraising pitch at the bottom of an article, you must find our team’s reporting valuable and we hope you’ll consider supporting it with a donation of any amount right now if you can.

It’s really that simple. But if you’d like to read a bit more, our membership lead, Brian Hiatt, has a post for you highlighting some of our newsroom's impressive, impactful work of late—including two big investigations in just one day and covering voting rights the way it needs to be done—that we hope you’ll agree is worth supporting.

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